In this study, the Artificial Bee Colony Optimization (ABCO) algorithm has been proposed to estimate the atmospheric duct in maritime environment. The radar sea clutter power is calculated by the parabolic equation method. In order to validate the accuracy and robustness of ABCO algorithm, the experimental and simulation study are respectively carried out in the current research. In the simulation study, the statistical analysis of the estimation results in term of the mean squared error (MSE), mean absolute deviation (MAD) and mean relative error (MRE) are presented to analyze the optimization performance with different noise standard deviation, and the comparative study of the performance of ABCO and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm are also shown. The investigation presented indicate that the ABCO algorithm can be accurately and effectively utilized to estimate the evaporation duct and surface-based duct using refractivity from clutter (RFC) technique in maritime environment. In addition, the performance of ABCO algorithm is clearly superior to that of the PSO algorithm according to the statistical analysis results, especially for the four-parameter surface-based duct estimation.
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