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Ambient dose equivalents in TGFs

Abstract : 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] 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. It is important to assess the risk induced by TGFs for airline passengers and crews on board aircraft approaching thunderstorms. 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. Moreover, 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 the aircraft avionics. In this work, we will present detailed simulation-based estimations of effective doses received by humans that would be irradiated by TGFs for various production altitudes and distances from the TGF source.
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Sebastien Celestin, Jean-Louis Pincon, Francois Trompier. Ambient dose equivalents in TGFs. 19th EGU General Assembly, Apr 2017, Vienne, Austria. pp.17535. ⟨insu-03568126⟩

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