Title: Identification of airborne radioactive spatial patterns in Europe - Feasibility study using Beryllium-7
Citation: JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RADIOACTIVITY vol. 155 -156 p. 55 - 62
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC92928
ISSN: 0265-931X
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.02.006
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.02.006
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The present study proposes a methodology to identify spatial patterns in airborne radioactive particles in Europe. The methodology is based on transforming the activity concentrations in the set of stations for each month, due to the tightly spaced sampling intervals (daily to monthly), in combination with hierarchical and non-hierarchical clustering approaches, due to the lack of a priori knowledge of the number of clusters to be created. Three different hierarchical cluster methodologies are explored to set the optimal number of clusters necessary to initialize the non-hierarchical one (k-means). To evaluate this methodology, cosmogenic beryllium-7 (7Be) data, collected between 2007 and 2010 at 19 sampling stations in European Union (EU) countries and stored in the Radioactivity Environmental Monitoring (REM) database, are used. This methodology yields a solution with three distinguishable clusters (south, central and north), each with a different evolution of the 7Be monthly index. Clear differences between monthly indices are shown in both intensity and time trends, following a latitudinal distribution of the sampling stations. This cluster result is evaluated performing ANOVA and t-test analyses, considering the original 7Be activity concentrations grouped in each cluster. The statistical results (among clusters and sampling stations within clusters) confirm the spatial distribution of 7Be in Europe, and, hence, reinforce the use of this methodology. Finally, the impact of tropopause height on this grouping is successfully tested, suggesting its influence on the spatial distribution of 7Be in Europe. For airborne radioactive particles the analysis gave valuable results that improve knowledge of these atmospheric compounds in Europe. Hence, this work addresses a methodology to a grouping of airborne sampling stations, 1) allowing a better understanding of the distribution of 7Be activity concentrations in the EU, and 2) serving as a basis for further investigation of the heterogeneity of airborne radioactivity concentrations in Europe.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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