Research and analysis

Solar ultraviolet radiation in Great Britain: 1989 to 2008

This report (HPA-CRCE-020) describes the investigation on the trend of an ongoing survey of solar radiation levels at 6 sites in Great Britain.

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A long-term trend of an ongoing survey of solar radiation levels at 6 different latitude sites in Great Britain (GB) was investigated. The network consists of:

  • 3 Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) sites: Chilton, Leeds and Glasgow
  • 3 Meteorological Office stations: Camborne, Kinloss and Lerwick

At each site in the network, measurements of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) had been measured simultaneously using a 3-detector measurement system.

Overall, it was found that some measurements indicated a statistically significant increasing linear trend between 1989 and 2008 in the UK. Changes in erythemally effective UVR solar radiation in relation with ozone depletion and sunshine hours in GB were investigated.

Although an increase in erythemally effective UVR in response to decreasing ozone, and increasing sunshine hours was detected in GB, it was not statistically feasible to draw any conclusion regarding an underlying dependence of ozone concentration and sunshine hours on changes in erythemally effective UVR in GB.