- For Staff
Tropospheric ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the driving force for all tropospheric photochemical processes. Photons in the UV wavelength have the potential to break usually fairly stable molecules into very reactive fragments (photolysis) and thus initiate reaction chains otherwise unlikely or even impossible. UV radiation is also harmful to living organisms and detrimental to human health. High doses of UV radiation are considered the major contributing factor for the development of skin cancer or cataracts. UV radiation can weaken the human immune system and can affect crop yields and phytoplankton activity (to only name a few effects).
Some questions of interest might be: What factors influence the amount of UV radiation available? What is the vertical structure of the radiative field? What sort of feedbacks (e.g., increased/decreased photolysis rates) can be expected from perturbations that - directly or indirectly - affect UV radiation? What are some of the health-related effects that can be expected from changes in atmospheric composition?
The monthly climatological distribution for the period 1979-2000 of daily total erythemal (skin-reddening) ultraviolet radiation at Earth's surface, calculated with the TUV model using satellite-based (Nimbus-7, Meteor-3 and Earth Probe) TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) observations of atmospheric ozone. The effects of clouds and scattering aerosols are accounted for using TOMS reflectivity at 380 nm. Download erythemal data.