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Evaluation of the impact of atmospheric ozone and aerosols on the horizontal global/diffuse UV Index at Livorno

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 2016

Highlights

  • Aerosols and ozone impact on both the solar UV radiation and its diffuse component.
  • Extinction of UV radiation in the atmosphere in absence of clouds.
  • Use of libRadtran as radiative transfer modelling software.
  • Ground-based measurements of global and diffuse UV radiation.
  • Satellite-based ozone and aerosol properties obtained from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI).

Abstract

A study was conducted at Livorno (Italy) to evaluate the impact of atmospheric aerosols and ozone on the solar UV radiation and its diffuse component at ground in clear sky conditions. Solar UV radiation has been quantified in terms of UV Index (UVI), following the ISO 17166:1999/CIE S007/E-1998 international standard. UVI has been calculated by exploiting the libRadtran radiative transfer modelling software as a function of both the Aerosols Optical Depth (AOD) and the Total Ozone Column (TOC). In particular AOD and TOC values have been remotely sensed by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board the NASA’s EOS (Earth Observing System) satellites constellation.

An experimental confirmation was also obtained by exploiting global UVI ground-based measurements from the 26/9/14 to 12/8/15 and diffuse UVI ground-based measurements from the 17/5/15 to 12/8/15. For every considered value of Solar Zenith Angle (SZA) and atmospheric condition, estimates and measurements confirm that the diffuse component contributes for more than 50% on the global UV radiation. Therefore an exposure of human skin also to diffuse solar UV radiation can be potentially harmful for health and need to be accurately monitored, e.g. by exploiting innovative applications such as a mobile app with a satellite-based UV dosimeter that has been developed.

Global and diffuse UVI variations due to the atmosphere are primarily caused by the TOC variations (typically cyclic): the maximum TOC variation detected by OMI in the area under study leads to a corresponding variation in global and diffuse UVI of about 50%. Aerosols in the area concerned, mainly of maritime nature, have instead weaker effects causing a maximum variation of the global and diffuse UVI respectively of 9% and 35% with an SZA of 20° and respectively of 13% and 10% with an SZA of 60°.

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