Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Dosimetry of Aircrew Exposure to Radiation During Solar Maximum - DOSMAX, Summary of Final Report

Project ID: FIGM-CT-2000-00068
Funded under: FP5-EAECTP C


The DOSMAX project has completed a detailed study of the radiation field at aircraft altitudes during the period 2000-2004. The period included the maximum phase of solar cycle 23 and the investigations undertaken completed a programme covering the whole 11 year cycle, starting during the minimum phase in 1993. The radiation field is produced mainly by the passage of galactic cosmic rays and their nuclear interaction products through the Earth¿s atmosphere, but the sun also plays an important role. The galactic cosmic rays vary in intensity during the eleven year solar cycle and reach a minimum value when the sun is at its most active because interactions with the solar wind deflect the lower energy particles away from the atmosphere. When the sun is least active the galactic component is at its maximum near Earth. During the maximum activity phase on the Sun an increased number of coronal mass ejections and solar flares occur and the radiation is increased due to the emission of high energy particles which may penetrate down to aircraft altitudes. Some, which produce a significant effect at ground level are known as ground level events (GLE). Overall, the resultant radiation field is very complicated and requires a wide range of instruments and analysis methods to determine its properties. It varies with altitude, latitude and stage of solar cycle and consequently, is most appropriately investigated by an international team of scientists with the assistance of airline personnel.

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