The use of nonconventional beam classes in turbulence applications is investigated. Through the study on pseudo-Bessel correlated beam propagation in the atmosphere, it is shown that scintillation reduction by a partially coherent beam can be obtained by a corresponding incoherent beam array with finite number of beamlets. General guidelines for scintillation reduction by incoherent beam arrays are developed; these guidelines include reducing correlation of beamlet atmospheric propagation, maximizing the total intensity arriving at the detector, and selecting beamlets with small scintillation. With these goals in mind, Airy beams, a novel beam class, are applied to generate an incoherent beam array whose scintillations are significantly reduced. By the analogy with two-mode partially coherent beams, nonuniformly polarized beams are demonstrated to be of small scintillation. This suggests a relatively easy and inexpensive method to reduce the scintillation of a coherent optical beam. Finally a method to measure atmospheric turbulence strength by using vortex beams is proposed and its feasibility is theoretically demonstrated.