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The Disappearance of the Pfotzer-Regener Maximum in Dose Equivalent Measurements in the Stratosphere

Hands, Alexander, Ryden, Keith and Mertens, CJ (2016) The Disappearance of the Pfotzer-Regener Maximum in Dose Equivalent Measurements in the Stratosphere Space Weather, 14 (10). pp. 776-785.

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Abstract

The NASA Radiation Dosimetry Experiment (RaD-X) successfully deployed four radiation detectors on a high altitude balloon for a period of approximately twenty hours. One of these detectors was the RaySure in-flight monitor, which is a solid-state instrument designed to measure ionizing dose rates to air crew and passengers. Data from RaySure on RaD-X show absorbed dose rates rising steadily as a function of altitude up to a peak at approximately 60,000 feet, known as the Pfotzer-Regener maximum. Above this altitude absorbed dose rates level off before showing a small decline as the RaD-X balloon approaches its maximum altitude of around 125,000 feet. The picture for biological dose equivalent, however, is very different. At high altitudes the fraction of dose from highly ionizing particles increases significantly. Dose from these particles causes a disproportionate amount of biological damage compared to dose from more lightly ionizing particles and this is reflected in the quality factors used to calculate the dose equivalent quantity. By calculating dose equivalent from RaySure data, using coefficients derived from previous calibrations, we show that there is no peak in the dose equivalent rate at the Pfotzer-Regener maximum. Instead the dose equivalent rate keeps increasing with altitude as the influence of dose from primary cosmic rays becomes increasingly important. This result has implications for high altitude aviation, space tourism and, due to its thinner atmosphere, the surface radiation environment on Mars

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Electronic Engineering
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Hands, Alexandera.hands@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Ryden, Keithk.ryden@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Mertens, CJUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 18 October 2016
Identification Number : 10.1002/2016SW001402
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2016 American Geophysical Union. Accepted for publication in Space Weather. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted. An edited version of this paper was published by AGU.
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 21 Sep 2016 14:52
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:44
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/812276

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