Soil radon in winter months under snowpack in Hokkaido, Japan

Abstract

Soil radon (222Rn) has been monitored during winter months under cool-temperate deciduous stands of different surface geology in Tomakomai and in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Radon level was lower in Tomakomai of immature soil of porous volcanic ash emitted from an active volcano (Mt. Tarumae), compared with those in Sapporo of alluvial sediments. In Tomakomai, mean value of the 222Rn activity concentration was higher in winter (570 Bq m−3) than in summer (350 Bq m−3) at a depth of 1 m, which is consistent with the results in cold and dry winter reported in the literature. In contrast, soil radon decreasing with decreasing soil temperature from mid-September (5.0 kBq m−3) remained low (2.6 kBq m−3) under persistent snow in Sapporo, which had already been observed in the same location. Measurements of the activity concentrations of 222Rn in snow and in snow air as well as in soil air indicate that the small amount of 222Rn is released from the ground surface to the overlying snowpack with a 222Rn flux density of 0.4 mBq m−2 s−1 under thick snow cover in Sapporo.

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Acknowledgments

The present research was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Slovenian Research Agency under Japan–Slovenia Research Cooperative Program in 2010–2011. The present authors would appreciate Prof. Tsutomu Hiura and his group for helping field works in the Tomakomai Experimental Forest, Hokkaido University.

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Correspondence to Ryoko Fujiyoshi.

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Fujiyoshi, R., Okabayashi, M., Sakuta, Y. et al. Soil radon in winter months under snowpack in Hokkaido, Japan. Environ Earth Sci 70, 1159–1167 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-012-2203-0

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Keywords

  • Radon
  • Soil air
  • Snowpack
  • Transport