Reply to comment by Rainer Facius et al. on “U.S. Government shutdown degrades aviation radiation monitoring during solar radiation storm”



The premise of this comment perpetuates an unfortunate trend among some radiation researchers to minimize potential risks to human tissue from low-radiation sources. In fact, this discussion on the risk uncertainties of low-dose radiation further illustrates the need for more measurements and a program of active monitoring, especially when solar eruptive events can substantially elevate the radiation environment. This debate also highlights the context of a bigger problem; i.e., how do we as professionals act with due diligence to take the immense body of knowledge of space weather radiation effects on human tissue and distil it into ideas that regulatory agencies can use to maximize the safety of a population at risk. The focus of our article on radiation risks due to solar energetic particle events starts with our best assessment of risks and is based on the body of scientific knowledge while, at the same time, erring on the side of public safety. The uncertainty inherent in our assessment is accepted and described with this same philosophy in mind.