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Conference Papers Year : 2017

Estimation of radiation doses in TGFs and gamma ray glows


Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) are bursts of high-energy photons originating from the Earth's atmosphere in association with thunderstorm activity [e.g., Briggs et al., JGR, 118, 3805, 2013]. TGFs are associated with initial propagation stages of intracloud lightning, which represent the most frequent type of lightning discharges [e.g., Cummer et al., GRL, 42, 7792, 2015, and references therein]. TGFs are known to be produced inside common thunderclouds [e.g., Splitt et al., JGR, 115, A00E38, 2010; Chronis et al., B. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 97, 639, 2016] typically at altitudes ranging from 10 to 14 km [e.g., Cummer et al., GRL, 41, 8586, 2014]. The global TGF occurrence rate is estimated to be 400,000 per year concerning TGFs detectable by Fermi-GBM (Gamma ray Burst Monitor) [Briggs et al., 2013], but detailed analysis of satellite measurements [Østgaard et al., JGR, 117, A03327, 2012] and theoretical studies [Celestin et al., JGR, 120, 10712, 2015] suggest that it cannot be excluded that TGFs represent a part of a regular process taking place during the propagation of lightning discharges. In addition to TGFs, another type of high-energy emissions has been observed inside thunderstorms from balloons [e.g., Eack et al., 101, 29637, 1996] and airplanes [e.g., McCarthy and Parks, 12, 393, 1985; Kelley et al., Nat. Commun., 6, 7845, 2015]. Referred to as gamma ray glows, these events correspond to significant elevations of the background radiation over long time scales that can be abruptly terminated with the occurrence of a lightning discharge. Kelley et al. [2015] estimate that a proportion larger than 8% of electrified storms produce glows. Dwyer et al. [JGR, 115, D09206, 2010] have estimated that if an aircraft were to find itself in the source electron beam giving rise to a TGF, passengers and crews might receive effective radiation doses above the regulatory limit depending on the beam diameter and Tavani et al. [Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1127, 2013] concluded that TGF-associated neutrons produced by photonuclear reactions would cause serious hazard on aircraft avionics. In this work, we present new simulation-driven estimations of doses received by humans that would be irradiated by TGFs and gamma ray glows.
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insu-03570122 , version 1 (13-02-2022)



Sebastien Celestin, Jean-Louis Pincon, F. Trompier. Estimation of radiation doses in TGFs and gamma ray glows. American Geophysical Union, 2017, San Francisco, United States. ⟨insu-03570122⟩
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