Articles | Volume 27, issue 4
01 Apr 2009
 | 01 Apr 2009

An empirical model to estimate ultraviolet erythemal transmissivity

M. Antón, A. Serrano, M. L. Cancillo, and J. A. García

Abstract. An empirical model to estimate the solar ultraviolet erythemal irradiance (UVER) for all-weather conditions is presented. This model proposes a power expression with the UV transmissivity as a dependent variable, and the slant ozone column and the clearness index as independent variables. The UVER were measured at three stations in South-Western Spain during a five year period (2001–2005). A dataset corresponding to the period 2001–2004 was used to develop the model and an independent dataset (year 2005) for validation purposes. For all three locations, the empirical model explains more than 95% of UV transmissivity variability due to changes in the two independent variables. In addition, the coefficients of the models show that when the slant ozone amount decreases 1%, UV transmissivity and, therefore, UVER values increase approximately 1.33%–1.35%. The coefficients also show that when the clearness index decreases 1%, UV transmissivity increase 0.75%–0.78%. The validation of the model provided satisfactory results, with low mean absolute bias error (MABE), about 7%–8% for all stations. Finally, a one-day ahead forecast of the UV Index for cloud-free cases is presented, assuming the persistence in the total ozone column. The percentage of days with differences between forecast and experimental UVI lower than ±0.5 unit and ±1 unit is within the range of 28% to 37%, and 60% to 75%, respectively. Therefore, the empirical model proposed in this work provides reliable forecast cloud-free UVI in order to inform the public about the possible harmful effects of UV radiation over-exposure.