Reply to comment by Socol et al. on “NAIRAS aircraft radiation model development, dose climatology, and initial validation”


We appreciate and welcome the authors comment on our paper. We are aware that there are different views on the biological response to low-dose radiation than the linear, no-threshold (LNT) model. Since numerous articles on aircraft radiation exposure have appeared in this journal, it's beneficial for the Space Weather readership to be knowledgeable of the broader issues and uncertainties in the current understanding of the biological aspects of low-dose radiation exposure, as the authors aptly summarize. However, most of these comments do not pertain to the purpose and content of our paper.

The purpose of our paper is to present the physical foundation and results of the Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety (NAIRAS) model, which provides an assessment of cosmic radiation dose at airline altitudes. The NAIRAS model is not a risk model; consequently, it does not depend on or imply the LNT hypothesis. The following points should be kept in mind. First, the occupational exposure of aircrew is legally regulated in many countries, for example, the European Union. Second, there is a common understanding that higher doses increase health risk. Third, a significant part of aircrew workers is likely to be occupationally exposed to more than 100 mSv over the course of their career, a dose range which has not been covered in epidemiologic studies yet. These three factors justify a demand for individual dose assessment for aircrew and analytical tools to undergird these assessments. An atmospheric radiation model such as the NAIRAS model provides an important tool for dose assessment at flight altitudes. Moreover, radiation models such as NAIRAS will greatly benefit epidemiologists and other radiation health experts in their admirable quest to better understand the biological response to low-dose cosmic radiation at flight altitudes.