Cosmic Radiation on the Polar Routes
Cosmic radiation levels in the atmosphere vary with latitude, longitude, altitude, and solar activity. Airplane crews and passengers are exposed to a higher level of radiation when they fly, accumulating radiation doses that depend primarily on the route taken and the altitude profile of the flight. Flights on polar routes experience higher levels of cosmic radiation than equatorial routes. Airplane crews flying exclusively on polar routes will receive about one-third of the average annual maximum dose established by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). This is similar to the radiation dose on routes such as Athens to New York, and does not pose a significant health risk.
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