A Case Study of Radioactive Fallout

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  • 1 Colorado State University
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Abstract

During September 1961 a series of balloon ascents made from Flin Flon, Canada, carrying scintillation counters sensitive to gamma radiation, revealed the existence of shallow stable atmospheric layers carrying radioactive debris, presumably from the Russian test series during the same month.

The debris layers encountered on 14 and 15 September have been studied in particular. The debris detected over Flin Flon on 14 September, 2221 GCT, at 650 mb had undergone strong sinking motion. One may conclude that it came from the region immediately underneath the tropopause shortly prior to 13 September, 12 GCT, entering the middle troposphere through the stable layer underneath the jet core, sometimes referred to as a “jet-stream front.”

Beginning with 17 September a distinct area of radioactive fallout begins to appear at the surface over the eastern United States. Some of this debris seems to be identical with the one detected over Flin Flon, and it apparently was transported by the same jet stream. Part of the fallout seems to be associated with a small collapsing cold dome travelling ahead of this jet stream.

Abstract

During September 1961 a series of balloon ascents made from Flin Flon, Canada, carrying scintillation counters sensitive to gamma radiation, revealed the existence of shallow stable atmospheric layers carrying radioactive debris, presumably from the Russian test series during the same month.

The debris layers encountered on 14 and 15 September have been studied in particular. The debris detected over Flin Flon on 14 September, 2221 GCT, at 650 mb had undergone strong sinking motion. One may conclude that it came from the region immediately underneath the tropopause shortly prior to 13 September, 12 GCT, entering the middle troposphere through the stable layer underneath the jet core, sometimes referred to as a “jet-stream front.”

Beginning with 17 September a distinct area of radioactive fallout begins to appear at the surface over the eastern United States. Some of this debris seems to be identical with the one detected over Flin Flon, and it apparently was transported by the same jet stream. Part of the fallout seems to be associated with a small collapsing cold dome travelling ahead of this jet stream.

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