Radon flux maps for the Netherlands and Europe using terrestrial gamma radiation derived from soil radionuclides

S.N. Manohar, H.A.J. Meijer, M.A. Herber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Naturally occurring radioactive noble gas, radon (Rn-222) is a valuable tracer to study atmospheric processes and to validate global chemical transport models. However, the use of radon as a proxy in atmospheric and climate research is limited by the uncertainties in the magnitude and distribution of the radon flux density over the Earth's surface. Terrestrial gamma radiation is a useful proxy for generating radon flux maps. A previously reported radon flux map of Europe used terrestrial gamma radiation extracted from automated radiation monitoring networks. This approach failed to account for the influence of local artificial radiation sources around the detector, leading to under/over estimation of the reported radon flux values at different locations. We present an alternative approach based on soil radionuclides which enables us to generate accurate radon flux maps with good confidence. Firstly, we present a detailed comparison between the terrestrial gamma radiation obtained from the National Radiation Monitoring network of the Netherlands and the terrestrial gamma radiation calculated from soil radionuclides. Extending further, we generated radon flux maps of the Netherlands and Europe using our proposed approach. The modelled flux values for the Netherlands agree reasonably well with the two observed direct radon flux measurements (within 2 sigma level). On the European scale, we find that the observed radon flux values are higher than our modelled values and we introduce a correction factor to account for this difference. Our approach discussed in this paper enables us to develop reliable and accurate radon flux maps in countries with little or no information on radon flux values. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric environment
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Radon flux
  • Radionuclides
  • Terrestrial gamma radiation
  • Local influence
  • Soil moisture
  • Ambient dose rate
  • RN-222 FLUX
  • REGIONAL-SCALE
  • EMISSIONS
  • TRANSPORT
  • METHANE
  • MODELS
  • THORON
  • AIR

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