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Open AccessArticle

Solar UV Irradiance in a Changing Climate: Trends in Europe and the Significance of Spectral Monitoring in Italy

Aosta Valley Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA), 11020 Saint-Christophe, Italy
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, 00185 Rome, Italy
Physics Sapienza Università di Roma, 00185 Rome, Italy
Deutscher Wetterdienst, Research Centre Human Biometeorology, Stefan-Meier-Str. 4, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Climate Research Programme, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Ringlaan 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Space and Earth Observation Centre, 99600 Sodankylä, Finland
Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Research Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology, Academy of Athens, 10680 Athens, Greece
Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), Costa Navarino, 24001 Messinia, Greece
Center for Environmental Effects on Health, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2020, 7(1), 1;
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 3 December 2019 / Accepted: 16 December 2019 / Published: 18 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Agents: Measurement Methods, Modelling and Mitigations)
Review of the existing bibliography shows that the direction and magnitude of the long-term trends of UV irradiance, and their main drivers, vary significantly throughout Europe. Analysis of total ozone and spectral UV data recorded at four European stations during 1996–2017 reveals that long-term changes in UV are mainly driven by changes in aerosols, cloudiness, and surface albedo, while changes in total ozone play a less significant role. The variability of UV irradiance is large throughout Italy due to the complex topography and large latitudinal extension of the country. Analysis of the spectral UV records of the urban site of Rome, and the alpine site of Aosta reveals that differences between the two sites follow the annual cycle of the differences in cloudiness and surface albedo. Comparisons between the noon UV index measured at the ground at the same stations and the corresponding estimates from the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) forecast model and the ozone monitoring instrument (OMI)/Aura observations reveal differences of up to 6 units between individual measurements, which are likely due to the different spatial resolution of the different datasets, and average differences of 0.5–1 unit, possibly related to the use of climatological surface albedo and aerosol optical properties in the retrieval algorithms. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar UV radiation; Italy; Europe; ozone; aerosols; clouds; OMI; UV forecast solar UV radiation; Italy; Europe; ozone; aerosols; clouds; OMI; UV forecast
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Fountoulakis, I.; Diémoz, H.; Siani, A.-M.; Laschewski, G.; Filippa, G.; Arola, A.; Bais, A.F.; De Backer, H.; Lakkala, K.; Webb, A.R.; De Bock, V.; Karppinen, T.; Garane, K.; Kapsomenakis, J.; Koukouli, M.-E.; Zerefos, C.S. Solar UV Irradiance in a Changing Climate: Trends in Europe and the Significance of Spectral Monitoring in Italy. Environments 2020, 7, 1.

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