NASA satellite to track UV-B radiation

Published: Saturday 31 May 2014


Data sent from a NASA satellite is being used to assess UV-B radiation on Earth. UV-B is one of the three types of ultraviolet light, having a wavelength 290 nm to 320 nm. The satellite has been orbiting Earth since 2004 at an altitude of over 700 km. It sends data daily which is processed through a computer algorithm to calculate long-term averages. The processed data available for 2004-2013 can be used for macro-ecological analyses of the impact of UV-B radiation on organisms. It shows that countries in the southern hemisphere receive 50 per cent higher UV-B radiation than countries in the northern hemisphere. The data can be used to devise area-specific strategies for protecting UV sensitive material and to study the prevalence of skin diseases. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, April 2014

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