Wednesday, 22 June 2005
A new synthetic current UV Index is developed and successfully verified against direct surface measurements of UV index values. This synthetic UV index value can be used to expand by more than a factor of twenty the number of possible UV Index observations in the United States and other countries. The results were verified against the UV index values measured by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) measured UV index values for a total of 6566 data points (at 13 different locations across the US) over a period of a month. In 49% of these cases, the synthetic UV index is identical to the observed. In 67% of these cases the synthetic UV index shows a different of +/- 1 UV index unit from the measured UV index. In 82% of the cases the synthetic UV index is within +/- 2 UV index units of the observed index. This synthetic UV index can be used to better inform the public of the diurnal variations in the UV index that are caused by changes in cloud cover, total column ozone, time of the day, visibility, and geographical location at many more locations that the ones equipped with UV sensors. Presently, current or measured UV indices are strictly limited in coverage to locations where surface values of UV radiation are measured by broadband or spectral UV sensors. This synthetic index has the advantage that it can be derived at any point where surface cloud observations are available. The synthesized UV index can be published in many different forms such as national maps and daily line graphs for a given location with the purpose of raising the public's awareness of the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
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