Articles | Volume 24, issue 2
23 Mar 2006
 | 23 Mar 2006

Daily and annual variations of erythemal ultraviolet radiation in Southwestern Spain

A. Serrano, M. Antón, M. L. Cancillo, and V. L. Mateos

Abstract. The potential danger of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and its increasing levels at the Earth's surface due to ozone depletion have demanded worldwide representative measurements of UV radiation. This study presents four and one-half years of original records of high temporal resolution ultraviolet erythemal radiation (UVER) measured in Badajoz, Spain. Its principal aim is to statistically characterize the UVER magnitude and temporal variations, but also to address the interesting special cases of cloud-free and cloudy skies. In particular, the study reports reliable values of fundamental statistical indices, which can serve as relevant values for comparison with other studies and model results. Moreover, the daily and annual evolution of the main central moments of the distribution function are analyzed and interpreted in terms of the forcing and attenuation sources.

The analysis focuses on two different temporal scales: hourly and daily values. Integrated hourly and daily data allow for the study of daily and annual variations of the fundamental statistical indices. All of them exhibit high symmetry with respect to solar noon and to certain dates near summer and winter solstices. The analysis shows the great influence of cloudiness in the distribution of UVER values. Thus, both daily and hourly UVER data present a slightly asymmetrical, left tailed, mesokurtic distribution for all months, except for summer, when the lack of clouds produces a leptokurtic distribution which is skewed to the left.