While the chief cause of defocus in airborne spotlight-mode imagery is uncompensated errors in the measurement of the aircraft position as it traverses the synthetic aperture, another physical phenomenon can cause blurring in the formed SAR image as well. This is the injection of phase errors into the collected SAR phase history data by random fluctuations in the index of refraction as the microwave pulses propagate through an atmosphere that contains irregularities in the tropospheric water vapor distribution. In this paper, we show that in SAR imagery collected under certain conditions, these phase errors can be detected and corrected using a robust autofocus algorithm such as Phase Gradient Autofocus (PGA). The phase errors are confirmed as having been propagation-induced by demonstrating that they exhibit a power-law spectrum described by Tatarski, based on the turbulence model of Kolmogorov.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.