UV Solar Radiation in Polar Regions Consequences for the Environment and Human Health

Claudio Rafanelli, Alessandro Damiani, Elena Benedetti, Sara. De Simone, Andrea Anav, Luigi Ciattaglia, and Ivo Di Menno

ICES-International Center for Earth Sciences c/o CNR-Istituto di Acustica "O.M. Corbino" Area della Ricerca "Roma-Tor Vergata" via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 100 00113-Roma, Italy E-mail: [email protected] ([email protected])

Abstract Over the past few years, some preventive measures have been adopted for restricting the growth of human impact on the terrestrial environment and to limit gaseous emissions into the atmosphere, (e.g., the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985, and the Montreal Protocol, 1987). The monitoring of minor atmospheric gases presently assumes a double significance: (1) to better understand the photochemistry process involved and the environmental problems they produce; and (2) to test the effectiveness of adopted mitigation techniques. Studies on stratospheric ozone are particularly relevant because it is a filter for ultraviolet (UV) and has a high sensitivity to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) presence. During the past 20 years, the trend of ozone depletion has been strongly negative. Some signals have recently been observed that seem to indicate there has been a slight recovery, even if the evidence for this tendency is disguised by the difficulty in separating the anthropogenic impact from the natural variability. Human impact is much more discernible in polar regions making them privileged areas for carrying out this type of research.

In light of these considerations, studies on solar radiation flux have become important for investigating the properties of the atmosphere and its minor components, and also for evaluating the available radiant energy for technical applications. Moreover, the ever-increasing interest in regard to the consequences of human activity on the biosphere has further contributed to the development of these studies, especially in the UV spectral region. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of instrument sites and radiometric networks. Many decisions affecting civil society are made using data from these networks and consequently, it is essential that the effects of environmental factors are well understood.

Few fields of research involve such a mixture of measurement techniques, instrumental characteristics, and physical atmospheric properties. The major environmental factors include radiative transfer of solar UV through the atmosphere, atmospheric physics, and aerosol composition and content. The management of international networks and the development of instruments are the main limiting factors for good data acquisition.

This work gives a concise review and provides guidance regarding the consequences and risks of solar UV radiation on environmental and human health.

Keywords ozone, ozone hole, personal dosimeter, polar regions, radiometer, skin cancer, UV radiation

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment