Direct comparison between the angular distributions of the erythemal and eye-damaging UV irradiances: a pilot study.

11 November 2011


Several broadband ultraviolet (UV) radiation angular distribution investigations have been previously presented. As the biologically damaging effectiveness of UV radiation is known to be wavelength dependent, it is necessary to expand this research into the distribution of the spectral UV. UV radiation is also susceptible to Rayleigh and Mie scattering processes, both of which are completely wavelength dependent. Additionally, the majority of previous measurements detailing the biologically damaging effect of spectral UV radiation have been oriented with respect to the horizontal plane or in a plane directed towards the sun (sun-normal), with the irradiance weighted against action spectra formulated specifically for human skin and tissue.

However, the human body consists of very few horizontal or sun-normal surfaces. Extending the previous research by measuring the distribution of the spectral irradiance across the sky for the complete terrestrial solar UV waveband and weighting it against erythemal, photoconjunctivital and photokeratital action spectra allowed for the analysis of the differences between the biologically effective irradiance (UVBE) values intercepted at different orientations and the effect of scattering processes upon the homogeneity of these UVBE distributions.

It was established that under the local atmospheric environment, the distribution profile of the UVBE for each biological response was anisotropic, with the highest intensities generally intercepted at inclination angles situated between the horizontal and vertical planes along orientations closely coinciding with the sun-normal. A finding from this was that the angular distributions of the erythemal UVBE and the photoconjunctivital UVBE were different, due to the differential scattering between the shorter and longer UV wavelengths within the atmosphere.


Schouten, P. and Parisi, A.V., 2011. Direct comparison between the angular distributions of the erythemal and eye-damaging UV irradiances: a pilot study. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 102(2), pp.146-155.

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