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Open AccessArticle

UV Index Forecasting under the Influence of Desert Dust: Evaluation against Surface and Satellite-Retrieved Data

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Division of Sustainable Development (DSD), College of Science and Engineering (CSE), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar Foundation (QF), Education City, Doha 34110, Qatar
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Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar Foundation (QF), Education City, Doha 34110, Qatar
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010096
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 5 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Aerosols)
Human exposure to healthy doses of UV radiation is required for vitamin D synthesis, but exposure to excessive UV irradiance leads to several harmful impacts ranging from premature wrinkles to dangerous skin cancer. However, for countries located in the global dust belt, accurate estimation of the UV irradiance is challenging due to a strong impact of desert dust on incoming solar radiation. In this work, a UV Index forecasting capability is presented, specifically developed for dust-rich environments, that combines the use of ground-based measurements of broadband irradiances UVA (320–400 nm) and UVB (280–315 nm), NASA OMI Aura satellite-retrieved data and the meteorology-chemistry mesoscale model WRF-Chem. The forecasting ability of the model is evaluated for clear sky days as well as during the influence of dust storms in Doha, Qatar. The contribution of UV radiation to the total incoming global horizontal irradiance (GHI) ranges between 5% and 7% for UVA and 0.1% and 0.22% for UVB. The UVI forecasting performance of the model is quite encouraging with an absolute average error of less than 6% and a correlation coefficient of 0.93. In agreement with observations, the model predicts that the UV Index at local noontime can drop from 10–11 on clear sky days to approximately 6–7 during typical dusty conditions in the Arabian Peninsula—an effect similar to the presence of extensive cloud cover. View Full-Text
Keywords: WRF-Chem; solar radiation; aerosol; mineral dust; OMI Aura; UVA; UVB; Arabian desert WRF-Chem; solar radiation; aerosol; mineral dust; OMI Aura; UVA; UVB; Arabian desert
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Roshan, D.R.; Koc, M.; Abdallah, A.; Martin-Pomares, L.; Isaifan, R.; Fountoukis, C. UV Index Forecasting under the Influence of Desert Dust: Evaluation against Surface and Satellite-Retrieved Data. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 96.

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