Social Work | 2019

A Citizen Science Network for Measurements of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation Levels



Historically, gathering data on atmospheric radiation levels during solar particle events (SPEs) has been difficult, as there is little or no time warning of events. Being able to accurately quantify radiation levels within the atmosphere during solar events is of significance to the aviation industry, as described in the International Civil Aviation Organization s (ICAO) Space Weather manual, particularly during a large Ground Level Enhancement (GLE) where the ionising dose to passengers and crew can exceed the recommended general public annual dose limits, set by the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) Barlett, Beck, Bilski, Bottollier‚ÄźDepois, and Lindborg (2004), in one flight. The Smart Atmospheric Ionising RAdiation (SAIRA) Monitoring Network is a new system of handheld radiation detectors that can be carried on aircraft to monitor and record atmospheric radiation levels. The system operates via citizen science volunteers, who record radiation data as they travel for normal purposes. Over 30 flights have been conducted with volunteers to demonstrate that a citizen science network is possible. Volunteers have used a new Android application to record and upload data to a central server to form a database of flight measurements. The demonstration has shown there is a willingness in public volunteers to use radiation detectors and engage in science outreach. A fully developed system will ideally provide the capability to quantify radiation levels during a Solar Particle Event (SPE) or GLE and the data can be used by relevant organisations to minimise potential risks.

Volume 17
Pages 877-893
DOI 10.1029/2019SW002190
Language English
Journal Social Work

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