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Installing a monitoring network of UV ground stations

In early 1980, following the discovery of the "ozone hole" (.pdf) above Antarctica scientists began to worry about the risks threatening populations, due to a potential increase of UV rays in surface.

UV groundstationThe group "Solar Radiation" of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) decided to establish a network of measuring ground stations allowing quasi real time tracking (monitoring) of UV-A, UV-B and visible range.

Goal is to verify the potential for increased UV-B on the ground, better understand the mechanisms of penetration through the atmosphere and to finally establish a climatology, both reliable and continuous.

From the outset, this network aimed to achieve:

  • Spectral measurements, information-rich but with a low temporal resolution (one measurement per quarter hour only).
  • Integrated measures (UV-A, UV-B and total solar radiation) with a high temporal resolution (up to one measurement per second).
  • Quasi-spectral measurements offering a good compromise between spectral resolution in terms of wavelength (6, 10 and 14 bands throughout the UV-Visible), and temporal resolution (approximately one measurement per minute).

Other measurements such as the total column of ozone or SO2 and the main meteorological parameters: temperature, air pressure, moisture, wind speed and direction, rainfall, cloud cover (in the visible and IR) etc.

Complete information on direct and diffuse components and global solar radiation of UV-Visible at the surface allowed researchers of BIRA-IASB to demonstrate, for example, the correlation between a decrease in stratospheric ozone and an increase in UV-B on surface.

Since then, five other stations were added to the monitoring network in Belgium. The BIRA-IASB is also collaborating with the stations in Diekirch and Luxembourg.

UV website Real time UV index of all these stations


Back to main article about UV at the surface


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