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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 961; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100961

Is Multidirectional UV Exposure Responsible for Increasing Melanoma Prevalence with Altitude? A Hypothesis Based on Calculations with a 3D-Human Exposure Model

1
Institute of Meteorology and Climatology, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover 30419, Germany
2
Institute of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna 1090, Austria
3
Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna 1190, Austria
4
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Braunschweig 38116, Germany
5
Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach 63067, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 22 September 2016 / Published: 28 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UV-Radiation: From Physics to Impacts)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1753 KB, uploaded 9 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

In a recent study, melanoma incidence rates for Austrian inhabitants living at higher altitudes were found to increase by as much as 30% per 100 m altitude. This strong increase cannot simply be explained by the known increase of erythemally-weighted irradiance with altitude, which ranges between 0.5% and 4% per 100 m. We assume that the discrepancy is partially explainable by upwelling UV radiation; e.g., reflected by snow-covered surfaces. Therefore, we present an approach where the human UV exposure is derived by integrating incident radiation over the 3D geometry of a human body, which enables us to take upwelling radiation into account. Calculating upwelling and downwelling radiance with a radiative transfer model for a snow-free valley and for snow-covered mountain terrain (with albedo of 0.6) yields an increase in UV exposure by 10% per 100 m altitude. The results imply that upwelling radiation plays a significant role in the increase of melanoma incidence with altitude. View Full-Text
Keywords: UV radiation; human exposure; erythema; malignant melanoma; altitude effects; albedo; snow cover; alpine region UV radiation; human exposure; erythema; malignant melanoma; altitude effects; albedo; snow cover; alpine region
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schrempf, M.; Haluza, D.; Simic, S.; Riechelmann, S.; Graw, K.; Seckmeyer, G. Is Multidirectional UV Exposure Responsible for Increasing Melanoma Prevalence with Altitude? A Hypothesis Based on Calculations with a 3D-Human Exposure Model. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 961.

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