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Influences of meteorological parameters on indoor radon concentrations (222Rn) excluding the effects of forced ventilation and radon exhalation from soil and building materials

Schubert, Michael, Musolff, Andreas, Weiss, Holger
Journal of environmental radioactivity 2018 v.192 pp. 81-85
air, atmospheric pressure, attitudes and opinions, construction materials, radioactivity, radionuclides, radon, risk, soil, temperature, variance, water content, wind speed
Elevated indoor radon concentrations (²²²Rn) in dwellings pose generally a potential health risk to the inhabitants. During the last decades a considerable number of studies discussed both the different sources of indoor radon and the drivers for diurnal and multi day variations of its concentration. While the potential sources are undisputed, controversial opinions exist regarding their individual relevance and regarding the driving influences that control varying radon indoor concentrations. These drivers include (i) cyclic forced ventilation of dwellings, (ii) the temporal variance of the radon exhalation from soil and building materials due to e.g. a varying moisture content and (iii) diurnal and multi day temperature and pressure patterns. The presented study discusses the influences of last-mentioned temporal meteorological parameters by effectively excluding the influences of forced ventilation and undefined radon exhalation. The results reveal the continuous variation of the indoor/outdoor pressure gradient as key driver for a constant “breathing” of any interior space, which affects the indoor radon concentration with both diurnal and multi day patterns. The diurnally recurring variation of the pressure gradient is predominantly triggered by the day/night cycle of the indoor temperature that is associated with an expansion/contraction of the indoor air volume. Multi day patterns, on the other hand, are mainly due to periods of negative air pressure indoors that is triggered by periods of elevated wind speeds as a result of Bernoulli's principle.