Preliminary results on soil-emitted gamma radiation and its relation with the local atmospheric electric field at Amieira (Portugal)

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Susana Alexandra Barbosa
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The atmospheric electric field near the Earth's surface is dominated by atmospheric pollutants and natural radioactivity, with the latter directly linked to radon (Rn-222) gas. For a better comprehension on the temporal variability of both the atmospheric electric field and the radon concentration and its relation with local atmospheric variables, simultaneous measurements of soil-emitted gamma radiation and potential gradient (defined from the vertical component of the atmospheric electric field) were taken every minute, along with local meteorological parameters (e.g., temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity and daily solar radiation). The study region is Amieira, part of the Alqueva lake in Alentejo Portugal, where an interdisciplinary meteorological campaign, ALEX2014, took place from June to August 2014. Soil gamma radiation is more sensitive to small concentrations of radon as compared with alpha particles measurements, for that reason it is more suited for sites with low radon levels, as expected in this case. Preliminary results are presented here: statistical and spectral analysis show that i)the potential gradient has a stronger daily cycle as compared with the gamma radiation, ii) most of the energy of the gamma signal is concentrated in the low frequencies (close to 0), contrary to the potential gradient that has most of the energy in frequency 1 (daily cycle) and iii) a short-term relation between gamma radiation and the potential gradient has not been found. Future work and plans are also discussed.