NASA satel­lite to track UV-B ra­di­a­tion

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY -

Data sent from a NASA satel­lite is be­ing used to as­sess UV-B ra­di­a­tion on Earth. UV-B is one of the three types of ul­travi­o­let light, hav­ing a wave­length 290 nm to 320 nm. The satel­lite has been or­bit­ing Earth since 2004 at an al­ti­tude of over 700 km. It sends data daily which is pro­cessed through a com­puter al­go­rithm to cal­cu­late long-term av­er­ages. The pro­cessed data avail­able for 2004-2013 can be used for macro-eco­log­i­cal analy­ses of the im­pact of UV-B ra­di­a­tion on or­gan­isms. It shows that coun­tries in the south­ern hemi­sphere re­ceive 50 per cent higher UV-B ra­di­a­tion than coun­tries in the north­ern hemi­sphere. The data can be used to de­vise area-spe­cific strate­gies for pro­tect­ing UV sen­si­tive ma­te­rial and to study the preva­lence of skin dis­eases. Meth­od­sinE­col­o­gyandEvo­lu­tion,April2014

The aver­age in­ten­sity of global UV-B ra­di­a­tion

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