Ultraviolet Radiation

Characteristics of UV Radiation

Fate and Transport of UV Radiation

Monitoring UV Radiation

Exposure Pathways

Methods of Measurement of Human Exposure

Prevention of Exposure

Harmful Effects

Dose Response

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism

Sites of Toxicity

Biomarkers of Disease

Molecular Mechanism of Action

Risk Assessment and Risk Management

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Ultraviolet Radiation Monitoring

UV Monitoring in the United States

US Global Exchange

The US Global Change Research Program, in collaboration with various agencies is responsible for the UV monitoring in the United States.

Other Monitoring Efforts

There are other UV monitoring instruments located at universities, hospitals, and research institutes.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    o EPA/UGA
  • NOAA UV Monitoring Network
    o ISIS
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • NASA
  • National Biological Survey (NBS)
    Two wilderness projects in the NBS currently include UV-B measurements. The Intermountain Wilderness Area Ecosystem Study (IWAES) involves the establishment of a network of 15 ecosystem monitoring sites at Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wilderness areas or wilderness study areas. The Paired Ecosystem Project will establish the same type of monitoring sites, with four sites in North America and four sites in the former Soviet Union. These sites will be established at ecosystem boundaries likely to be sensitive to the effects of global atmospheric and climatic change.
  • NOAA Robertson Berger network
    NOAA presently handles the oldest UV monitoring network. Since as early as 1974, data have been collected at more than two dozen different locations using a Robertson Berger meter. The network changed management several times during its course of data collection and, although five of the instruments still operate, no calibration or central maintenance has been performed since the late 1980s.
  • NOAA/NIST Central Calibration Facility
    The UV central calibration laboratory is operated by the Surface Radiation Research Branch (SRRB) of NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. It is responsible for transfering NIST absolute standards to operational UV monitoring instruments on a regular basis. The design and development of this facility has been a joint effort involving U.S. governmental agencies and university scientists. The facility offers calibration of broadband, filter and spectral instruments. Both laboratory and field calibrations are performed by this facility. In addition, the facility hosts an annual intercomparison of North American UV monitoring instruments. A portable field calibration device has been developed at this facility. The facility also serves private industry and non-USA agencies by offering services to manufacturers of UV measuring devices.

UV Monitoring Instruments

A variety of instruments exist for measuring ultraviolet radiation. They rely on a number of different techniques. Each instrument has its own characterizations making it more or less appropriate for specific applications. The WMO is currently in the process of writing specifications for describing some of the classes of instruments. The following companies produce instruments for monitoring solar UV for scientific purposes.

International Light
Kipp & Zonen
PRC Krochmann
Photometrics Ltd.
Solar Light
Solartech Enterprises

Model TUVR

Personal UV Meters

Matcor Global Products:
Optix Tech Inc.:
Solartech, Inc. UV Meters:
UV UK Ltd.
Sunsor, Inc.:

Sun Safe Personal Monitor

Summary of UV Monitoring in the United States

  • UV monitoring and research in the US is carried on by several agencies with coordination through the US Global Change Research Program.
  • Accu-weather offers maps of the UV Index along with information such as weather forecasts for the U.S. and select cities
  • The Weather channel offers maps of the UV Index as well as a variety of other information such as weather forecasts for the U.S. and select cities.
  • Daily UV Index for the US as a color map supplied by the National Weather Service, this site is updated daily
  • Daily UV Index for US cities in text format supplied by the National Weather Service, this site is updated daily
  • NOAA's UV Index page offers daily maps of the UV index as well as maps of monthly mean levels and past levels.
  • The US Department of Agriculture operates 26 UV monitoring stations with a variety of instruments primarily broad-bands. The site which is updated daily supplies daily maps from each of their instruments.
  • The Atmospheric Radiation Measurements Program has in depth measurements of a number of radiation, meteorological and constituent parameters including UV broad-band meters at a number of sites and a UV pectroradiometer (UVS) at the Southern Great Plains site only.
  • NOAA's SurfRad program monitors surface radiation including UV at six sites in the U.S. The data are available from this site which is updated daily.
  • The National Science Foundation has four spectral radiometers in Antarctica, one in Barrow, AK and one in San Diego, CA. Data and summaries are available from this site which is updated periodically.
  • The US EPA together with the National Park Service operates 21 Brewer UV monitoring meters including 15 in National Parks. Plots of the data are available from this site which is operated by the University of Georgia.
  • The US EPA together with the National Park Service operates 21 Brewer UV monitoring meters including 15 in National Parks. Programmatic description, plots and data downloads are available from this site which is operated by the US EPA.
  • NOAA's ISIS program operates ten broad-band meters in the continental US. Data are available as well as prior day's diurnal plots.
  • US Department of Agriculture summarizes some of the research activities regarding climate change and UV stress to plants.
  • This project is a statewide (West Virginia) HSTA collaboration between high school students, teachers, biomedical experts, and science educators. Students record daily UV-B readings and create a database

UV Monitoring in Minnesota

Radiation in Minnesota is monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Radiation Unit.

World-wide UV Monitoring

  • Europe
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong

UV Forecasts

  • National Weather Service
  • The Weather Channel
  • ACCU Weather
  • Atmospheric Radiation Measurements Program