carlcowkau
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Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:19 am

I really want to know how serious passengers will be after taking direct flight from Asia to America passing through the north pole with a huge amount of radiation. Any accurate measure of this? Since I've only heard of the problems from CX HKG-JFK. Lastly, anymore "pole-crossing" routes beside 1) CX HKG-JFK, 2) SQ SIN-EWR, 3) CO HKG-EWR, 4) AC HKG-YYZ??

[Edited 2005-04-12 21:28:44]
Looking forward to being in CX 747ADV and A388.....
 
TimRees
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:39 am

Don't know if the risk is that large.

I'm not a radiation expert (just a doctor) but from what I understand crossing the North Atlantic from London to USA (at 35000ft) exposes the occupants of an aircraft the the same radiation as you would get from a standard chest x-ray (CXR) and most people would worry about having one of those. Sitting in front of your TV exposes you to a few CXR's of radiation a year and here in the UK living in Corwall (where there is a high granite concentration in the rock) exposes you to the same radiation of 3 CXR's/year.
When Concorde was in operation it had a special sensor for high radiation readings (it was at 50000ft+ of course) and if it exceeded the safe limit it had to decend.
If you think that aircrew are flying 1000's of hours yearly and (I believe) there is no proven link between an increased risk of cancer in aircrew compared the the general population (It has been postulated) I suspect the average flyer, who will only make these journies relatively infrequently, is at a lot less risk than if they smoked 20 cigarettes/day.
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:22 am

Hi, long time lurking first time post.

I believe there was a paper published in the lancet that concluded that there was an increased risk of leukaemia and some cancers in aircrew. Will try and find it.

Even if there was a risk in aircrew, it is likely to be small, and as you point out probably far less than the risk from smoking, sunbathing etc. The risk for the average infrequent flyer is probably very small indeed.
 
COAMiG29
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:27 am

may i inquire as to why there is radaition at the north pole?
If Continental had a hub at DFW with nonstop flights I would always fly them, unfortunantely good things take time.
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:37 am

I am not an expert but as I understand it is cosmic radiation. Although you are also exposed on the ground, the level is much lower as it has been filtered by the atmosphere. The higher you go, the less atmosphere above you to filter the radiation and therefore the greater the risk. In the same way, as the ozone layer is depleted the intensity of the radiation increases.

The two biggest ozone holes are over the arctic and antarctic. Since there are more flights over the arctic, it is of greater concern to aviation.
 
USAFMXOfficer
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:41 am

I think it has to do with higher electro-magnetic radiation. Think of the earth as a giant magnet with magnetic field lines bunching at the poles. This has taken tremendous effort to recall my very rusty physics knowledge....
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carlcowkau
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:47 pm

From one of my relatives who is now a second officer of Airbus of CX, he said there's restriction by CX of no more than 2 round-trip flights in a month between HKG-JFK.

And I've just found a report from local newspaper, which said that the unit of cosmic radiation is mSV. A pregnant woman should not absorb over 1mSV in a year. The highest single-trip radiation of thoughout a year is 0.0938 mSV, therefore she's not recommended to take 5 round trips in the year. For normal passengers and crews, 4.8 mSV is the common limit for them in a year and it's equivalent to 25 round trips HKG-JFK.

The average amount of radiation of CX crews is 1.8-1.9 mSV, the highest cabin crew reaches 4.48mSV
Looking forward to being in CX 747ADV and A388.....
 
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lightsaber
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:04 pm

Quoting TimRees (Reply 1):
I suspect the average flyer, who will only make these journies relatively infrequently, is at a lot less risk than if they smoked 20 cigarettes/day.

Yikes, much less! Ok, to a Californian, that's a scary amount of smokes! I would compare it, as did Sjg, to being less risky than sunbathing.

Quoting USAFMXOfficer (Reply 5):
I think it has to do with higher electro-magnetic radiation.

 rotfl  Ummm.... no.

It has to do with the earth's spin and the resulting hadley and walker cells moving ozone depleting chemicals to the poles. Combine that with air borne ice particles that act as a catalyst bed and one has a reduced ozone layer. Combine this with the lack of a day/night cycle at the pole at certain times of the year (local summer) you have an excess further depletion (even elimination) of ozone and hence more radiation making it through. As other noted, a higher altitude means less atmosphere has absorbed the radiation. (O3 is great for UV absorption).


Lightsaber
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:27 pm

For what it's worth Fedex ops must check the polar radiation measurements prior to a polar xing. It could cancel the flight but as far as I know hasn't yet. We do ALC-ANC and FRA- ANC.
 
coa764
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:14 pm

NOAA issues a daily Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity that includes three categories that can impact flights:

Geomagnetic storms: disturbances in the geomagnetic field caused by gusts in the solar wind that blows by Earth (G 1-5 scale)
http://www.sec.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/#GeomagneticStorms
Solar radiation storms: elevated levels of radiation that occur when the numbers of energetic particles increase (S 1-5 scale)
http://www.sec.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/#SolarRadiationStorms
Radio blackouts: disturbances of the ionosphere caused by X-ray emissions from the Sun (R 1-5 scale)
http://www.sec.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/#RadioBlackouts

For a quick reference you can go to NWS: Space Weather Enviroment
http://www.sec.noaa.gov/index.html
Space Weather Advisories
http://www.sec.noaa.gov/advisories/outlooks.html

It would be my assumption that all users operating in the polar environment check this information on a daily basis and plan accordingly when needed.
Hope this helps.
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RDUDDJI
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:21 pm

Quoting Carlcowkau (Thread starter):
Lastly, anymore "pole-crossing" routes beside 1) CX HKG-JFK, 2) SQ SIN-EWR, 3) CO HKG-EWR, 4) AC HKG-YYZ??

UA ORD-HKG...I flew this last year and we were very close to being exactly on the N. pole. I'd say just about any trans-pac flight from Eastern North America would go over/near the pole when winds are favorable (or should I say unfavorable to fly Westward).
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
mrniji
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:05 pm

Quoting Carlcowkau (Thread starter):
really want to know how serious passengers will be after taking direct flight from Asia to America passing through the north pole with a huge amount of radiation

If you have any doubts, do as BushCheney2004 did and board a flight passing through over Antarctica Big grin

Adventure On United (UA) From TPA-HKG (With Pics) (by BRAVO7E7 Apr 2 2005 in Trip Reports)
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kc135topboom
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:47 pm

Sorry, I missed the move that Antarctica made. So, he must have flown that north/south/north great circle route?
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:48 pm

For anyone that's interested here is the reference to that paper I mentioned that found a higher rate of some cancers in aircrew:

"Gundestrup & Storm, Radiation-induced acute myeloid leukaemia and other cancers in commercial jet cockpit crew: a population-based cohort study, The Lancet, Volume 354, Issue 9195, 11 December 1999, Pages 2029-2031."

In a nutshell they found that air crew flying 5000h+ had a generally higher risk of cancer, in particular acute myeloid leukaemia. They also reported a higher rate of skin cancers - but this was thought to be due to all the time aircrews spend realxing on the beach at their destinations!  Smile

Quoting Carlcowkau (Reply 6):
The average amount of radiation of CX crews is 1.8-1.9 mSV, the highest cabin crew reaches 4.48mSV

Do crews wear radiation tags like radiographers do? Also, does any airline have a maximum number of flight hours their crew can do per year to limit the radiation they are exposed to?
 
carlcowkau
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:28 am

Quoting Sjg (Reply 13):
Do crews wear radiation tags like radiographers do? Also, does any airline have a maximum number of flight hours their crew can do per year to limit the radiation they are exposed to?

I don't think they would wear them.

For the maximum number of flight hours, I've never heard of such limit, but the Civil Aviation Department in Hong Kong is now keep tracking the radiation absorbed by crew. Captain M S DAVIS, the Chief of flight Standards, said that for those crews who reach 4.8 mSV in a year, they will be arranged to serve in routes with less radiation.
Looking forward to being in CX 747ADV and A388.....
 
tockeyhockey
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:52 am

Quoting COAMiG29 (Reply 3):
may i inquire as to why there is radaition at the north pole?

i think it has to do with the magnetic poles -- they sheild those of us who live between the poles from cosmic and solar radiation, but expose the poles themselves to increased radiation. it has to do with how magnetic fields bend and move radiation, i think.

AP physics was many years ago, though...
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:46 am

Done a little bit of reading about this. It seems that there are 2 main reasons for the level of radiation being higher at the poles:

1. Ozone depletion. As a result of the cold temperatures at the poles huge "polar stratospheric clouds" form. These provide a large surface area for chemical reactions to occur, which creates chemicals that degrade ozone. This lets more radiation, in particular from the solar wind, through.

2. Magnetic field. Electrons travel down the field lines, which enter the atmosphere at the poles.

So it seems everyone is right. Correct me if I am wrong though, wouldn't be the first time.

Getting this back to aviation, the ozone hole over the antarctic is far bigger than the arctic. Are there any routes that overfly the south pole?
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:41 am

What a depressing thread. People have absolutely no clue as to the basics of elementary (high) school physics. The composition of the Earth's atmosphere has NO relation to the Earth's magnetic field. The relative depletion of the ozone layer is due to the circumstances of the weather phenomena only -- the stagnation of upper atmosphere in winter, esp. over the mass of Antarctica whereby the ongoing chemical process of ozone depletion (& regeneration) becomes more evident.

What the thread starter was probably after was that the RADIATION shielding properties of the atmosphere weaken as the total mass of air thickens as you climb upwards. That shielding I S constant, i.e. the THICKNESS of the A I R layer is very much the SAME everywhere on the same level. The North Pole is no exception.

The ELECTRO-MAGNETIC phenomena going in the atmosphehe are typically evidenced by what is known as the Northern Lights, (Aurora Borealis). These do not appear at the magnetic poles only (please remember that the geographical and the magnetic poles are removed from each other), the actual range is far greater, depending on the Sun's activity. These, like any electro-magnetism, have NO verified physiological effect on any life. (The writer is one of the 1% of the Earth's inhabitants that have a chance to regularly witness the phenomenon, only if the city lights were all turned off some suitable time)


The ozone problem's physiology is not related to either one of the above. The matter is purely a problem of excess UV (Ultra Violet) radiation. Any type of aircraft skin (and windows) will stop this. In other words, one will not get sunburns inside an aircraft!


-eilennaei



[Edited 2005-04-13 22:55:06]

[Edited 2005-04-13 23:00:50]
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:58 am

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 17):
The composition of the Earth's atmosphere has NO relation to the Earth's magnetic field

If you re-read what I posted I think you'll see that I never claimed the atmosphere influenced the magnetic field in any way.

The magnetic field may not have an effect on life (although there is also evidence that it does). However, if DEFINITELY does affect the path of the stream of electrons that make up the solar wind. Magnetic fields obvously affect the path of electrons, THAT is elementary high school physics.

The magnetic field of the earth looks like this:



Charged particles become trapped in the field and are attacted to the earth down the field lines in a spiralling motion. Therefore you are exposed to more radiation at the poles than elsewhere on earth, where the field shields us from charged particles. This is shown in this diagram:



Also remember that the atmopshere does not only absorb UV radiation, but all types including beta radiation (electrons & positrons). Therefore ozone depletion does have an effect, even if a small one, on the radiation we are exposed to.
 
satx
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:08 am

Quoting Sjg (Reply 16):
1. Ozone depletion. As a result of the cold temperatures at the poles huge "polar stratospheric clouds" form. These provide a large surface area for chemical reactions to occur, which creates chemicals that degrade ozone.

The ozone layer is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but the comment above makes it sound as though ozone depletion is also strictly a natural occurrence. To my knowledge, the sudden and rapid depletion of the ozone layer in modern times is strongly linked to unnatural chemical accumulation from multiple manmade sources. Natural variations in the ozone level have not been shown to result in such drastic changes within such a short time frame.

- Edited for poor wording.

[Edited 2005-04-13 23:10:47]
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:13 am

In fact any ill effects of electro-magnetic fields are not presently verified, many industries would be "interested" if they were, including the worldwide wireless communications industry.
Likewise, the universal gravity (matter weighs the same the world over) takes care of the fact that the atmosphere is in fact evenly distributed along the surface of the Earth. Whatever shielding is present, is present in the same quantity everywhere, relating to the "space" radiation that is in principle stoppable by the mass of the atmosphere.

I'm sorry to have upset anyone personally, it was not my intention, but I feel people are not thinking hard enough, and are not critical enough. But this is, after all, an "instant gratification" society...

-eilennaei


P.S: SATX:
I noticed the same, and edited into the text "relative" --> the relative depletion. I'm not denying -- I'm personally at risk all the time.



[Edited 2005-04-13 23:18:28]

[Edited 2005-04-13 23:20:38]
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:17 am

Quoting SATX (Reply 19):
The ozone layer is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but the comment above makes it sound as though ozone depletion is also strictly a natural occurrence.

Sorry, should have worded that better. Of course you are right. The chemical reactions that lead to ozone being destroyed are caused by CFCs etc released into the atmosphere. That said, I think some degree of ozone detruction is a normal part of how the atmosphere maintains itself.

Back to the question I asked earlier, any polar routes over the antarctic that anyone knows of?
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:22 am

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 20):
In fact any ill effects of electro-magnetic fields are not presently verified, many industries would be "interested" if they were, including the worldwide wireless communications industry.

Sorry, think I am not explaining myself well. Didn't mean the magnetic field itself is dangerous - just the charged particles that are directed by it.

No worries, you didn't upset me. Am meant to be writing a paper about something completely different - little debate we got going here is a nice distraction Smile.
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:30 am

Quoting Sjg (Reply 22):
just the charged particles that are directed by it.

Those charged particles will be electrons. Their path will form a kind of invisible cable carrying current as in any "solid" cable, which in turn induces other current into telecomm and utility cables and wires --> keeps the repairmen busy during peak Sun activity. Another piece of electromagnetism at work, no more.

-eilennaei
 
sjg
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:42 am

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 23):
Another piece of electromagnetism at work, no more.

Sorry, I still think you have missed my point. I found an abstract that ties all the things I've been trying to say together quite well:

Radiation at aircraft altitude

The magnetic field, whilst not dangerous in itself, does channel particles (not only electrons) to create radiation. Due to the nature of the earth's magnetic field this effect is most pronounced at the poles.

Back to aviation - anybody know of any antarctic routes?
 
satx
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:18 am

Personally, if I were taking a once-a-year holiday to Asia from the USA, I would not hesitate to make use of a polar route simply on the basis of radiation poisoning. However, if I were a pilot or making regular business trips between the US and Asia, I would probably try to avoid the polar route more than a couple times a year. As with cell phones, there is probably not enough data to know for sure how much damage could be done, but I’d still error on the side of caution if at all possible.

Incidentally, from what I’ve read, most studies involving the health effects of cell phones were funded directly or indirectly by cell phone service providers, manufacturers, and related companies who have by far the most interest in the outcome. Never trust a conflict-of-interest to give it to you strait. Bending the rules and spinning the facts are lucrative qualities in a research administrator. Amazingly, it’s perfectly acceptable to only publish the one study in twenty that didn’t disprove your claims, and to only show that portion of its data that could possibly benefit your cause.

Government organizations such as the USDA, DOD, ED, DOE, HHS, DHS, DOJ, DOI, DOT, EPA, and FDA make important decisions about the future health and wellbeing of Americans by relying largely on research funded in whole or in part by powerful folks with a vested interest in the outcome. Is anyone surprised by the fact that this process is not serving the greater good of the people?
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
cha747
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:43 pm

They taught me in med school that the magic radiation number is 1.21 Jigawatts  Wink

In anycase, the Dept. of Pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia have done some studies related to the risk of fetal complications due to radiation if a pregnant mother travels. The outcomes were that the amount of radiation for occasional flights during pregnancy is negligible to the fetus. This research did not comment on flight crews or frequent flyers who may spend extended periods of time in the air.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:14 pm

That medical abstract reference Sjg has found studies "hadron, lepton, and photon fields" that are a mystery, to me at least. All matter is made of hadrons and leptons, so "photon" is really superfluous -- and the statement is in itself vacuous, meaning actually "the fields that stuff has" behing the grand wording.
When I read further that were're dealing even with "the intergalactic" version of the above, please excuse me if my interest to acquire the actual study lessens.


I would not hesitate using
http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/Ielect.html

as a guide to atmospherical matters.

And yes, the charged particles that the Earth's magnetic field is able to capture and bend are indeed electrons. The may be "free" or in association with the atoms that have lost them (plasma). Otherwise the carrying of the electric current would not be possible.

One of the on-line monitor links here:
http://www.sgo.fi/


To the best of my knowledge the current state of science does not lend support to starting to avoid transpolar aviation routes.

Edit: another link thrown in:
http://www.oulu.fi/~spaceweb/textbook/solarwind.html

-eilennaei

[Edited 2005-04-14 08:16:38]

[Edited 2005-04-14 08:22:27]

[Edited 2005-04-14 08:30:00]
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:15 pm

To compare to the image in #18, here is a linked model of the Earth's magnetic field what I feel is more realistic:



-eilennaei

[Edited 2005-04-14 09:17:05]
 
antares
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:59 pm

Sjg,

There are no scheduled commercial flights that cross over the main Antarctic continent.

Qantas has scenic Antartica flights that seldom venture very far into the interior but are a fantastic experience. Do a Google for Croydon Travel (the Melbourne firm that sells the charters) or just Qantas Antarctica scenic flights.

Antares
 
pelican
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:50 pm

@Eilennaei
Indeed Earth's magnetic field is shielding us from cosmic radiation. If you fly at a higher FL you will get a higher dose of cosmic radiation. Sjg is talking about cosmic radiaiton. Due to the form of the magnetic field the intensity of cosmic radiation is higher in the pole regions. I'm not sure whether the dose is high enough to cause any harm.
Aurora borealis is not caused by this kind of radiation. Northern lights are indeed no danger to humans. But our sun emits not only harmless radiation.

BTW cosmic radiation is a big problem for interplanetary space travel.

pelican
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:52 pm

If we're talking about the cosmic radiation proper, it is not greater near the polar If regions as it comes from a seemingly uniform source outside out solar system. There my shielding proposition will aplly.

-eilennaei
 
lekohawk
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:59 pm

Aurora are touched off by particularly strong instances of the "solar wind" (electrons and other elementary particles tossed off constantly by the sun) interacting with Earth's magnetic fields and some of the elements and compounds in the extreme upper reaches of our atmosphere. Aurora, in and of themselves, are harmless to humans. They're happening VERY high up, well beyond the domain of commercial and most military air traffic.

They are indicative, however, of increased solar activity which means higher radiation levels, which, when it reaches the surface, can be harmful to humans, and even more harmful to human constructs (cell phone networks, power distribution infrastructure, broadcasting systems and industrial & consumer electronics come to mind) if only temporarily.

Ozone is a part of the defense against this for people on the ground, but the ozone holes over the poles are of little concern to aircraft passengers who are, for the most part, shielded against any radiation that would normally be blocked by the layer by the skin/windows of the plane. The higher concern is the radiation that is focused on the poles by the mag. fields, which would not be filtered by ozone anyway. That said, the amount of radiation we're talking about is very small, and even smaller when you consider that you're inside a giant metal tube with lots of sheilding to protect the expensive and fairly delicate electronics that keep you from becoming a big red splat on that otherwise pristine polar landscape.  Wink

Just a note: this all is different from "Cosmic" radiation... Which is actually more appropriately referred to as "Cosmic Background Radiation" or CBR. This, to those who are interested, is believed to be the most important evidence supporting the Big Bang theory. CBR exists throughout the universe on a fairly, though not completely, even dispersion. It can be observed on Earth, as the planet and everything on it (yes, you too) are equally infiltrated by it. It's a part of being in the universe, you just don't get away from it.
If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
 
eilennaei
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:52 pm

I practiced what I preached and rethought. I gather the source of the non-background radiation near the poles is not the original solar wind, but the secondary emissions caused by the collisions between the atoms very high up. By this process, the heavier atoms of the plasma are either excluded or take part in a very complicated equilibrium process with the parting solar wind. (We only have so much He, for instance, down here, despite the Sun having been active for a very very long time.)

I'd initially thought this secondary emission to be largely inconsequential, the light of the Aurora Borealis is, for instance, very dim, and city lights overwhelm it easily. In reality it is not so, some secondary emission is more powerful and you have more radiation near the poles from that source, again, as the shielding is thin. Whether that is significant cancerwise, I can't tell. On the positive side, at least you have less radioactive Radon gas up there that seeps from some (Uranium-containing) rocks, and is a major risk contributor in many areas, including where I live.

Ozone is another thing, the ozone molecules are nicely tuned to the wavelenghts of the harmful UV radiation and disspate the energy in the chemical process with ordinary O2.

-eilennaei
 
manu
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RE: Passengers Passing The North Pole Are Risking?

Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:07 pm

Quoting Sjg (Reply 24):
The magnetic field, whilst not dangerous in itself, does channel particles (not only electrons) to create radiation. Due to the nature of the earth's magnetic field this effect is most pronounced at the poles.

Excellent debate! You all are doing well at not shooting the messenger and getting the facts straight. Now if we could only do this in an A vs B debate without someone saying "x is stupid, dude".

Changing the subject slightly, the polar flights are a good thing for shortest distance, but if something were to go wrong and an aircraft were to go down there would be no easy solution! I've seen discovery channel programs in Canada on how the Canadian military search and rescue teams are training for disaster in remote regions of Canada. Scary stuff, but they're as ready as anyone can be!

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