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Calibrating Broadband UV Instruments: Ozone and Solar Zenith Angle Dependence

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  • 1 NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Lauder, New Zealand
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Abstract

A UV spectroradiometer was installed at Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), Hawaii, in July 1995. This instrument has been employed to characterize several broadband UV instruments of a type commonly used to estimate erythemal irradiance at many sites around the globe. One year of clear-sky data from MLO has been analyzed for solar zenith angles (SZAs) of 5°–85°, in steps of 5°, and for total ozone values in the range 220–310 DU measured with a Dobson spectrophotometer. Because the spectral responses of various broadband instruments can be quite different, and particularly because the erythemal response defined for human skin is significantly different than that of many broadband instruments, the calibration of a broadband instrument reporting in erythemal units is strongly dependent on total ozone and SZA. When a broadband instrument is placed in the field it is necessary to know the calibration as a function of ozone and SZA to determine accurate erythemal irradiance. However, the manufacturers of broadband instruments do not generally provide information on the ozone dependence of the calibration. A procedure is described here for determining the calibration of a broadband UV instrument by comparison with a calibrated spectroradiometer. This procedure does not require precise knowledge of the spectral response of the broadband instrument. This analysis shows that if, for example, total ozone concentration decreased from 300 to 200 DU, the calibration constant of a broadband instrument should be increased by almost 20%. Therefore, the broadband instrument would significantly underestimate the increase of erythema.

Corresponding author address: Barry Bodhaine, NOAA/CDML, R/E/CG1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: bbodhaine@cmdl.noaa.gov

Abstract

A UV spectroradiometer was installed at Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), Hawaii, in July 1995. This instrument has been employed to characterize several broadband UV instruments of a type commonly used to estimate erythemal irradiance at many sites around the globe. One year of clear-sky data from MLO has been analyzed for solar zenith angles (SZAs) of 5°–85°, in steps of 5°, and for total ozone values in the range 220–310 DU measured with a Dobson spectrophotometer. Because the spectral responses of various broadband instruments can be quite different, and particularly because the erythemal response defined for human skin is significantly different than that of many broadband instruments, the calibration of a broadband instrument reporting in erythemal units is strongly dependent on total ozone and SZA. When a broadband instrument is placed in the field it is necessary to know the calibration as a function of ozone and SZA to determine accurate erythemal irradiance. However, the manufacturers of broadband instruments do not generally provide information on the ozone dependence of the calibration. A procedure is described here for determining the calibration of a broadband UV instrument by comparison with a calibrated spectroradiometer. This procedure does not require precise knowledge of the spectral response of the broadband instrument. This analysis shows that if, for example, total ozone concentration decreased from 300 to 200 DU, the calibration constant of a broadband instrument should be increased by almost 20%. Therefore, the broadband instrument would significantly underestimate the increase of erythema.

Corresponding author address: Barry Bodhaine, NOAA/CDML, R/E/CG1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: bbodhaine@cmdl.noaa.gov

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