New web service launched to estimate radiation doses on airline routes

4 Dec 2017

The ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence of the Academy of Finland has won a grant from the VarSITI programme of the ICSU Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) to develop a web service and database of major solar particle storms, also known as ground-level enhancements (GLE). The new database has now been launched at

Energetic eruptions of the Sun, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, may cause solar particle storms, which produce a large amount of charged energetic particles to the near-Earth environment. Solar particle storms pose a hazard to modern society, especially to space-borne technology. On Earth, we are protected by the atmosphere from the harmful effects of such storms. However, particles may occasionally have sufficient energy and intensity to produce notable effects in the atmosphere, even at the altitude of trans-polar airline routes. Passengers and crew may receive radiation doses significantly above the background level. Since the exposure of flying personnel to cosmic radiation is regarded as an occupational health problem (International Commission on Radiological Protection, 1991), it should be monitored. While the background radiation is routinely monitored nowadays, assessing the radiation doses of solar particle storms poses a challenge because of their random occurrence and large variability.

The new database provides, for each observed GLE event, information on the properties of solar energetic particles and their estimated radiation doses at the polar cruise altitude of 10,700 metres. This gives a quick estimate of the radiation effect caused by all major GLE events during the last decades.

More information

Press contact 

Academy of Finland Communications 
Leena Vähäkylä, Communications Specialist 
tel. +358 295 335 139 

The Academy of Finland is a government agency within the administrative branch of the Finnish Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Our mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research. In 2017, our funding for research amounts to 437 million euros. Part of our funds come from proceeds of Finland’s national gaming company Veikkaus. In 2017, these proceeds account for 70.7 million euros of our total funding for scientific research.

Last modified 4 Dec 2017
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