In January 2020 we installed an ANSTO 1500L Radon Detector at our site in Tacolneston and in Ridge Hill. Radon-222 is a radioactive noble gas that is naturally emitted from all land masses and is an inert gas that does not react with other atmospheric trace gases and is only weakly soluble in water. Emission from the ocean are 2-3 order of magnitudes lower than the emission over land and radon has a half-life of ~3.8days. The relatively short lifetime, constant emissions from soils and low emissions from oceans make radon an ideal tracer for how much recent land contact an air mass has experienced. Since anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are predominantly emitted near the earth’s surface so recent contact of an air mass with the surface can be used as an indication of how clean or potentially polluted the air mass is.
We hope to use these new observations to characterize the air masses measured at our sites, compare them with atmospheric transport models and learn more about site specific atmospheric mixing.