Radiation Levels at Earth's Poles

In summary, while the radiation at the poles is not as hazardous as it is at other locations on Earth, it is still important to be aware of the dangers and take appropriate precautions when travelling to the poles.
  • #1
Jaziel
12
4
TL;DR Summary
How dangerous can the solar & cosmic radiation be at the poles - if at all?
Given that the magnetosphere plays a major role in protecting life here on Earth, how hazardous is the incoming space radiation at the poles? Here I mean at ground level, as opposed to being in an airplane. I'm thinking especially about solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and the like, but also 'normal' space weather. Thanks in advance.
 
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  • #2
People live at the South Pole year round.
 
  • #3
A serious (possibly) problem for living near a ploe is the hole in the ozone layer, thus increasing UV exposure
 
  • #4
mathman said:
A serious (possibly) problem for living near a ploe is the hole in the ozone layer, thus increasing UV exposure
Most of the time, people are bundled in parkas and insulated clothing, and usually wear protective eyewear because it is so bright. During winter, folks tend to be indoors, especially in the Antarctic.
 
  • #5
The same applies to the Inuit and Laplanders in the high northern latitudes. It's just that the thought occurred that they might have adapted over time to any increased radiation levels. Evidently this is not the case.

So in view of the fact that surface conditions at the poles are safe enough in terms of cosmic radiation, clearly this protection doesn't apply to those who regularly fly over the north pole, pilots, cabin crew etc - and this at an altitude of just 13km. Is this a measure of how weak the magnetosphere is at the poles? Or has it something to do with reduced air density? (?)

Just one more question: if, as seems likely, the magnetosphere continues to weaken - 9% during the last two centuries alone according to ESA - could there come a time when surface conditions at the poles end up being even more inhospitable, requiring added protection?

https://thepointsguy.co.uk/news/radiation-flights-over-north-pole/
 
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  • #6
Jaziel said:
clearly this protection doesn't apply to those who regularly fly over the north pol
Who is doing this? Presently there are no passsenger flights over the pole. At the peak, there were six per week in each direction.

Radiation in planes is 10x or so the radiation at the surface, just because they are above most of the atmosphere. I'll let Arthur Holly Compton (yes, that Compton) speak to geography: "At sea level the intensity at high latitudes is 14±0.6 percent greater than at the equator; at 2000 m elevation, 22 percent greater; and at 4360 m, 33 percent greater. This variation follows the geomagnetic latitude more closely than the geographic or the local magnetic latitude, and is most rapid between geomagnetic latitudes 25 and 40 degrees"
 
  • #7
Vanadium 50 said:
Radiation in planes is 10x or so the radiation at the surface, just because they are above most of the atmosphere.
That is interesting. So as well as blocking the worst of UV radiation, the atmosphere really does have a shielding effect when it comes to solar/cosmic radiation, at least here on Earth. Thanks for the explanation.
 

1. What are radiation levels at Earth's poles?

The radiation levels at Earth's poles refer to the amount of radiation (such as solar radiation and cosmic radiation) that is present in the atmosphere at the North and South poles. These levels can vary depending on factors such as solar activity, altitude, and atmospheric conditions.

2. Are radiation levels higher at the North or South pole?

The radiation levels at both poles are generally similar, as they are both exposed to similar levels of solar and cosmic radiation. However, the South pole may experience slightly higher levels of radiation due to its higher elevation and thinner atmosphere.

3. How do radiation levels at the poles compare to other parts of the world?

The radiation levels at the poles are generally higher than in other parts of the world, as the poles are closer to the Earth's magnetic field and are more exposed to solar and cosmic radiation. However, the levels are still considered safe for humans and other organisms.

4. Can high radiation levels at the poles affect living organisms?

Yes, high levels of radiation can have harmful effects on living organisms. However, the levels at the poles are not high enough to cause significant harm to humans or other organisms. Some species, such as polar bears, have adapted to higher levels of radiation at the poles.

5. How do scientists measure radiation levels at the poles?

Scientists use various instruments, such as dosimeters and spectrometers, to measure radiation levels at the poles. These instruments can measure different types of radiation and provide data on the intensity and frequency of radiation at a specific location. Satellite imagery is also used to monitor changes in radiation levels over time.

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