Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth

  By Jeannie Allen · September 6, 2001

The sun radiates energy in a wide range of wavelengths, most of which are invisible to human eyes. The shorter the wavelength, the more energetic the radiation, and the greater the potential for harm. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface is in wavelengths between 290 and 400 nm (nanometers, or billionths of a meter). This is shorter than wavelengths of visible light, which are 400 to 700 nm.

boy in ferns
People and plants live with both helpful and harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. (Photograph courtesy Jeannie Allen)

UV radiation from the sun has always played important roles in our environment, and affects nearly all living organisms. Biological actions of many kinds have evolved to deal with it. Yet UV radiation at different wavelengths differs in its effects, and we have to live with the harmful effects as well as the helpful ones. Radiation at the longer UV wavelengths of 320-400 nm, called UV-A, plays a helpful and essential role in formation of Vitamin D by the skin, and plays a harmful role in that it causes sunburn on human skin and cataracts in our eyes. The incoming radiation at shorter wavelengths, 290-320 nm, falls within the UV-B part of the electromagnetic spectrum. (UV-B includes light with wavelengths down to 280 nm, but little to no radiation below 290 nm reaches the Earth’s surface). UV-B causes damage at the molecular level to the fundamental building block of life— deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic radiation exists in a range of wavelengths, which are delineated into major divisions for our convenience. Ultraviolet B radiation, harmful to living organisms, represents a small portion of the spectrum, from 290 to 320 nanometer wavelengths. (Illustration by Robert Simmon)

DNA readily absorbs UV-B radiation, which commonly changes the shape of the molecule in one of several ways. The illustration below illustrates one such change in shape due to exposure to UV-B radiation. Changes in the DNA molecule often mean that protein-building enzymes cannot “read” the DNA code at that point on the molecule. As a result, distorted proteins can be made, or cells can die.

Diagram of UV Radiation
Mutating DNA
Ultraviolet (UV) photons harm the DNA molecules of living organisms in different ways. In one common damage event, adjacent bases bond with each other, instead of across the “ladder.” This makes a bulge, and the distorted DNA molecule does not function properly. (Illustration by David Herring)

But living cells are “smart.” Over millions of years of evolving in the presence of UV-B radiation, cells have developed the ability to repair DNA. A special enzyme arrives at the damage site, removes the damaged section of DNA, and replaces it with the proper components (based on information elsewhere on the DNA molecule). This makes DNA somewhat resilient to damage by UV-B.

In addition to their own resiliency, living things and the cells they are made of are protected from excessive amounts of UV radiation by a chemical called ozone. A layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere absorbs UV radiation and prevents most of it from reaching the Earth. Yet since the mid-1970s, human activities have been changing the chemistry of the atmosphere in a way that reduces the amount of ozone in the stratosphere (the layer of atmosphere ranging from about 11 to 50 km in altitude). This means that more ultraviolet radiation can pass through the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface, particularly at the poles and nearby regions during certain times of the year.

Without the layer of ozone in the stratosphere to protect us from excessive amounts of UV-B radiation, life as we know it would not exist. Scientific concern over ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere has prompted extensive efforts to assess the potential damage to life on Earth due to increased levels of UV-B radiation. Some effects have been studied, but much remains to be learned.

next: Effects on the Biosphere

 

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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References


  Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
 

Some Effects of Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) Radiation on the Biosphere
Human health professionals and biological scientists would love to be able to demonstrate a direct correlation between the amount of exposure to UV-B radiation and the harm it causes. This is an enormously complicated question that depends on many different variables, such as varying degrees of susceptibility among different species, and most of these variables are not yet completely understood. For example, the same organism in different bodies of water in different parts of the ocean may respond differently to UV-B increases. Furthermore, stress to organisms and ecosystems from increased exposure to UV-B is modified by interactions among many other stresses, such as lack of water or nutrients. We live in a complex biosphere.

Micrographs of Sea Urchin
Larvae

Marine organisms living in shallow water experience damaging levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A healthy green sea urchin embryo (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) appears above left. A UV-irradiated green sea urchin embryo (above right) displays an abnormal, extruded gut. (Micrographs courtesy Nikki L. Adams, University of California, Santa Barbara)

We know that increased exposure to UV-B radiation has specific effects on human health, crops, terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and biogeochemical cycles. (“Biogeochemical cycles” refers to the cycling of chemicals such as carbon and energy throughout the Earth system.) This article will touch briefly on these effects, then will explain what determines how much UV we are getting and how we know.

The effects of UV-B radiation on human skin are varied and widespread. UV-B induces skin cancer by causing mutation in DNA and suppressing certain activities of the immune system. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that a sustained 1 percent depletion of ozone will ultimately lead to a 2-3 percent increase in the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer. UV-B may also suppress the body’s immune response to Herpes simplex virus and to skin lesion development, and may similarly harm the spleen.

Our hair and clothing protect us from UV-B, but our eyes are vulnerable. Common eye problems resulting from over-exposure to UV-B include cataracts, snow blindness, and other ailments, both in humans and animals. While many modern sunglasses offer some UV protection, a significant amount of UV can still reach our eyes in a high exposure situation.

With regard to plants, UV-B impairs photosynthesis in many species. Overexposure to UV-B reduces size, productivity, and quality in many of the crop plant species that have been studied (among them, many varieties of rice, soybeans, winter wheat, cotton, and corn). Similarly, overexposure to UV-B impairs the productivity of phytoplankton in aquatic ecosystems. UV-B increases plants’ susceptibility to disease. Scientists have found it affects enzyme reactions that conduct fundamental biological functions, it impairs cellular division in developing sea urchin eggs, and it changes the movements and orientation of tiny organisms as they move through ocean waters. Since some species are more vulnerable to UV-B than others, an increase in UV-B exposure has the potential to cause a shift in species composition and diversity in various ecosystems. Because UV-B affects organisms that move nutrients and energy through the biosphere, we can expect changes in their activities to alter biogeochemical cycles. For example, reducing populations of phytoplankton would significantly impact the world’s carbon cycle, because phytoplankton store huge amounts of carbon in the ocean.

Much of scientists’ work to determine the effects of increased UV-B on the marine biosphere has focused around Antarctica because the stratospheric ozone depletion there has been so dramatic, and because phytoplankton—which grow in abundance around Antarctica—form the basis of the marine food chain. Largely because of phytoplankton, oceans are responsible for the production of at least half of the organic material in the biosphere.

Antarctica
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation in Antarctica is commonly highest in spring. (Image courtesy of NOAA)

In the Antarctic, increased exposure to UV-B radiation due to the appearance of the ozone hole commonly results in at least a 6-12 percent reduction in photosynthesis by phytoplankton in surface waters. In a study of California coastal waters, effects of current levels of UV-B radiation compared to historical levels range from 40 percent reduction of photosynthesis by phytoplankton to a 10 percent increase. In fact, phytoplankton off the California coast sometimes turn out to be more susceptible to UV-B radiation than phytoplankton in Antarctica, to the surprise of biologists.

Communities of plants, animals, and microorganisms may be more resilient than we yet know. In spite of increased ultraviolet exposure in Antarctica over the last decade or so, no catastrophic events have occurred at the ecosystem level. However, the reason for this may be that the large ozone hole lasts only from September to December and covers a small geographic region relative to the entire globe. If the ozone hole should remain for longer time periods, or if ozone were to be reduced over a wider area every year, sooner or later, we could expect to see major ecosystem changes. So many studies in both the laboratory and the field have demonstrated serious consequences of increased UV-B radiation on the biosphere that we need to improve our understanding of the complex Earth environment and its responses to that radiation.

swallowtail nectaring
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can change the flowering times of some kinds of plants and therefore will affect the animals that depend on them. (Photograph courtesy Jeannie Allen)

next: What Determines UV at the Surface?
back: Introduction

 

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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References


  Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
 

What Determines How Much Ultraviolet Radiation Reaches the Earth’s Surface?
The amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface varies widely around the globe and through time. Several factors account for this variation at any given location. They are discussed below in order of importance, and descriptions of their effects appear in succeeding paragraphs.

underwater scene
The effects of ultraviolet radiation decrease with depth in the water column. (Image courtesy of NOAA)

Cloud Cover
Cloud cover plays a highly influential role in the amount of both UV-A and UV-B radiation reaching the ground. Each water droplet in a cloud scatters some incoming UV radiation back into space, so a thick cover of clouds protects organisms and materials from almost all UV. The larger the percentage of the sky that is covered by clouds, the less UV reaches the ground. The more opaque the cloud, the less UV-B. However, thin or broken cloud cover can be deceiving to people who are sunbathing, and the result can be an unexpected and severe sunburn.

Ozone in the Stratosphere
Ozone is the combination of three oxygen atoms into a single molecule (O3). It is a gas produced naturally in the stratosphere where it strongly absorbs incoming UV radiation. But as stratospheric ozone decreases, UV radiation is allowed to pass through, and exposure at the Earth’s surface increases. Exposure to shorter wavelengths increases by a larger percentage than exposure to longer wavelengths. Scientists can accurately estimate the amount of UV-B radiation at the surface using global data from satellites such as NASA’s TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer), GOME (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) and Aura (will open in a new window), to be launched in 2003, satellites. These satellite measurements are compared to ground-based measurements to ensure that the satellite data are valid. To calculate the reduction of UV-B by ozone, scientists consider the total ozone in a column of air from the stratosphere to the Earth’s surface. At mid-latitudes, a decrease of one percent in ozone may result in an increase of between one (310 nm) and three (305 nm) percent of potentially harmful UV-B at the surface during mid-summer when UV-B is highest.

Ozone depletion is greater at higher latitudes, (toward the North and South Poles) and negligible at lower latitudes (between 30 degrees N and 30 degrees S). This means that decreases in ozone over Toronto are likely to be greater than those over Boston, and those over Boston greater than those over Los Angeles, while Miami will typically see the least ozone depletion of the four cities. However, cities at lower latitudes generally receive more sunlight because they are nearer the equator, so UV levels are higher even in the absence of ozone depletion. If ozone were to decrease at lower latitudes, southern cities would experience a greater absolute increase in UV-B than cities in the north for the same amount of ozone depletion.

UV monitoring equipment
The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains an extensive network of radiometers to monitor ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation across the country. The one pictured above is in Beltsville, Maryland. (Photograph by Jeannie Allen)

Oblique angle of sunlight reaching the surface
At any given time, sunlight strikes most of the Earth at an oblique angle. In this way, the number of UV photons is spread over a wider surface area, lowering the amount of incoming radiation at any given spot, compared to its intensity when the sun is directly overhead. In addition, the amount of atmosphere crossed by sunlight is greater at oblique angles than when the sun is directly overhead. Thus, the light travels through more ozone before reaching the Earth’s surface, thereby increasing the amount of UV-B that is absorbed by molecules of ozone and reducing UV-B exposure at the surface.


diagram of oblique sunlight
The three images above illustrate how a change in angle between the sun and the Earth’s surface affect the intensity of sunlight (and UV-B) on the surface. When the sun is directly overhead, forming a 90° angle with the surface, sunlight is spread over the minimum area. Also, the light only has to pass through the atmosphere directly above the surface. An increased angle between the sun and the surface—due to latitude, time of day, and season—spreads the same amount of energy over a wider area, and the sunlight passes through more atmosphere, diffusing the light. Therefore, UV-B radiation is stronger at the equator than the poles, stronger at noon than evening, and stronger in summer than winter. (Illustration by Robert Simmon)

Aerosols
Unlike clouds, aerosols in the troposphere, such as dust and smoke, not only scatter but also absorb UV-B radiation. Usually the UV reduction by aerosols is only a few percent, but in regions of heavy smoke or dust, aerosol particles can absorb more than 50 percent of the radiation.

While the presence of aerosols anywhere in the atmosphere will always scatter some UV radiation back to space, in some circumstances, aerosols can contribute to an increase in UV exposure at the surface. For example, over Antarctica, cold temperatures cause ice particles (Polar Stratospheric Clouds) to form in the stratosphere. The nuclei for these particles are thought to be sulfuric acid aerosol, possibly of volcanic origin. The ice particles provide the surfaces that allow complex chemical reactions to take place in a manner than can deplete stratospheric ozone.

Mount Pinatubo eruption
The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 injected sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, significantly though temporarily depleting stratospheric ozone and resulting in an increase of UV-B reaching the Earth’s surface. Over millions of years, the biosphere has evolved to deal with temporary increases in UV from reductions in stratospheric ozone by natural causes such as volcanic eruptions, but has not had the time required to adjust to long-term ozone reductions attributed to human activities of the last 30 years. (Photograph courtesy USGS)

Water Depth
UV-B exposure decreases rapidly at increasing depths in the water column. In other words, water and the impurities in it strongly absorb and scatter incoming UV-B radiation. Some substances that are dissolved in water, such as organic carbon from nearby land, will also absorb UV-B radiation and enhance protection of microorganisms, plants, and animals from UV-B. Different masses of water at different locations contain different amounts of such dissolved substances and other particles, making evaluation of UV damage very difficult.

Map of UVB penetration in the
Ocean
Ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation reaches different depths in ocean water depending on water chemistry, the density of phytoplankton, and the presence of sediment and other particulates. The map above indicates the average depth UV-B penetrates into ocean water. At the depth indicated, only 10 percent of the UV-B radiation that was present at the water’s surface remains. The rest was absorbed or scattered back towards the ocean surface. (Image courtesy Vasilkov et al., JGR-Oceans, 2001)

Elevation
Living organisms at high elevations are generally exposed to more solar radiation and with it, more UV-B than organisms at low elevations. This is because at high elevations UV-B radiation travels through less atmosphere before it reaches the ground, and so it has fewer chances of encountering radiation-absorbing aerosols or chemical substances (such as ozone and sulfur dioxide) than it does at lower elevations.

snow
Ecosystems at high altitudes, such as this lake in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, receive more exposure to ultraviolet radiation than ecosystems at low altitudes. (Photo courtesy Philip Greenspun © 1994)

Reflectivity of the Earth’s Surface
As a highly reflective substance, snow dramatically increases UV-B exposure near the Earth’s surface as it reflects most of the radiation back into the atmosphere, where it is then scattered back toward the surface by aerosols and air molecules. Fresh snow can reflect much as 94 percent of the incoming UV radiation. In contrast, snow-free lands typically reflect only 2-4 percent of UV and ocean surfaces reflect about 5-8 percent (Herman and Celarier 1997).

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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References


  Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
 

How Much Ultraviolet (UV-B) Radiation Are We Getting?
Scientists determine UV-B exposure at the surface in two ways. The first way is by measuring it directly with instruments on the ground. These ground-based instruments can tell us the amount of UV-B radiation reaching the surface at their exact locations. Because the number of these ground-based instruments is limited by cost and by the inaccessibility of many locations around the globe, and because the amount of UV-B radiation can vary enormously from one specific location to another, we depend on data from satellites for long-term, global-scale measurements of UV-B exposure. Satellite data are greatly contributing to scientists’ understanding of the effects of UV-B radiation.

Map of UV Exposure
This map displays estimates of UV-B irradiance at the surface based on the abundance of ozone, as measured by NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instrument during the month of November, 2000. Data from satellites give us a daily, global perspective on the distribution of UV-B irradiance on the Earth’s surface. (Image by Reto Stöckli, based on data from the TOMS)

The second way to determine UV-B irradiance at the surface is by making estimates based on satellite measurements of ozone, cloud cover, and the other parameters described in What Reaches Earth’s Surface. Such estimates must take into account changes in the amount of radiation coming from the sun to the top of the atmosphere. To understand how researchers arrive at estimates of UV-B radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, one must first visualize a column of air that extends from the ground to the spacecraft above the atmosphere. Instruments on satellites orbiting the Earth (such as TOMS and OMI/Aura) measure the amounts of ozone, cloud cover, and aerosols in that column. Researchers can accurately calculate how much UV-B radiation there should be at the ground based on those measurements and on other conditions described earlier in this article (elevation, angle of sunlight, etc.). These values for each satellite field of view are incorporated into a global visualization of the data.

Satellite measurements are critical to our understanding of global change such as increases in UV radiation. Their importance derives from their superior calibration over long periods, their ability to observe remote or ocean-covered regions, and their capability of providing consistent global coverage. We also need well-maintained, strategically located ground-based instruments to continue to verify the accuracy of satellite-derived estimates of surface UV exposure over the globe.

Determining very long-term global trends still remains a problem because we have little historical data available before 1978, when NASA’s TOMS was first launched. Our need for historical data to detect and understand change underscores the critical importance of monitoring the Earth’ws processes for a long period of time, an objective to which NASA has committed in its Earth Observing System (EOS) program.

In September and October over Antarctica, loss of ozone and consequent increased levels of UV-B radiation at the surface are now commonly twice as high as during other times of the year. High UV-B exposures occur in nearby regions at both poles, including some regions where people live, such as Scandinavia, most of Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the southern region of South America. Exposures get especially high in regions of elevated altitude, such as in the Andes Mountains, and in places that are relatively free of clouds at certain times of the year, such as South Africa and Australia during their summer (December to February). In July, very high exposures appear over the Sahara, Saudi Arabia, southwestern United States, and the Himalayan Mountain regions in northern India and southern China. The equatorial regions have their maximum exposure in the spring and autumn, with higher values during the autumn due to decreased cloud cover.

Comparison of 1980 and
2000 ozone levels

The decrease of ozone amounts in the upper atmosphere above Antarctica and nearby regions between 1980 and 2000 has caused an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation striking the Earth and catalyzed extensive efforts by the scientific community to understand ozone chemistry. (Image courtesy NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio, based on data from TOMS)

We have no reliable long-term record of actual UV-B exposure from ground-based measurements, but we do have accurate short-term estimates of decreasing ozone, which we know leads to an increase in UV-B exposure at the surface. In Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1998, the World Meteorological Organization states that during 1998 at mid-latitudes in the north, between 35 and 60 degrees N, average ozone abundances were about 4 percent (per satellite measurements) or 5 percent (per ground-based measurements) below values measured in 1979, with most of the change occurring at the high end of that latitude zone. That means that recent UV-B radiation doses are correspondingly higher at those latitudes than historical levels (by amounts that depend on specific wavelengths). In the tropics and mid-latitudes, between 35 degrees S and 35 degrees N, both satellite data and ground-based data indicate that total ozone does not appear to have changed significantly since 1979.

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back: What Determines UV at the Surface?

 

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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References

References for UV-B Monitoring
U.S. Department of Agriculture UV-B Monitoring Program
National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs Ultraviolet Monitoring Network
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
(A new browser window will open for each.)m/span>

  Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
 

Predictions and Monitoring
Our best predictions of the amounts of UV-B we should experience in the near future are based on our predictions of the extent of ozone recovery, as well as on cloud cover. Ozone levels in the stratosphere are predicted to recover in around 50 years at the earliest. This expected recovery depends on full compliance by all national signatories to the international agreement known as "The Montreal Protocol" and subsequent amendments, which limit the production of chemicals that deplete stratospheric ozone. Greenhouse gas emissions may delay the recovery of ozone by 15 to 20 years beyond 2050. Although greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, they cool the stratosphere. Cooling increases cloud formation in the stratosphere, and ozone-depleting chemical reactions take place on ice crystal surfaces in those clouds.

Render of the Aura Satellite
Instruments aboard NASA’s EOS-Aura satellite will measure the amount of UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. They will also help to determine whether the stratospheric ozone layer is now recovering, as predicted by scientific models. (Image courtsy Jesse Allen, NASA GSFC Visualization and Analysis Lab)

Data from NASA’s satellites, coupled with observations on the ground, are essential to resolve critical questions about the impacts of increased ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion. The suite of TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) missions will provide us with ozone and UV-B surface exposure data. NASA’s Aura mission, to be launched in 2003, will monitor the status of stratospheric ozone and will enable the scientific community to determine whether or not the ozone layer is recovering as scientific models predict. Until the ozone layer recovers, Aura will help us to better predict how much UV-B exposure we can expect to receive at the surface.

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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References


  Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
 

References
Herman, J. R. and Celarier, E. Al. 1997. “Earth Surface Reflectivity Climatology at 340 nm to 380 nm from TOMS Data,” Journal of Geophysical Research 102, pp. 28003-28011

Krotkov, N.A., P.K. Bhartia, J. Herman, Z. Ahmad, V. Fioletov. 2001. “Satellite estimation of spectral surface UV irradiance 2: Effect of horizontally homogeneous clouds and snow,” Journal of Geophysical Research, 106

Prézelin, Barbara B.; Moline, Mark A.; and Matlick, H. Allen. 1998. Icecolors ’93: Spectral UV Radiation Effects on Antarctic Frazil Ice Algae. Antarctic Sea Ice Biological Processes, Interactions, and Variability. American Geophysical Union, Antarctic Research Series, Vol. 73

U.S. Department of Agriculture at Colorado State University. 2001. Managing Editors James R. Slusser and Wei Gao. The USDA UVB Monitoring and Research Program. (Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory)

Vasilkov, Alexander, et al. 2001 “Global mapping of underwater UV fluxes and DNA-weighted exposures using TOMS and SeaWiFS data products” Journal of Geophysical Research, 106

World Meteorological Organization, Christine A. Ennis, Coordinating Editor. 1998. Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project—Report No. 44. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.


Personal Communications
Edward De Fabo
Professor of Dermatology
George Washington University Medical School
Washington, DC
Phone: 202-994-3975
E-mail: drmecd@gwumc.edu

Jay R. Herman
Principal Investigator for TOMS Aerosol/UV Projects
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Mailstop 916.0
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: 301-614-6039
E-mail: herman@tparty.gsfc.nasa.gov

Ernest Hilsenrath
Deputy Project Scientist, EOS Aura Project
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: 301-614-6033
E-mail: Ernest.Hilsenrath.1@gsfc.nasa.gov

Deneb Karentz
Chair, Department of Biology
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: 415-422-2831
E-mail: karentzd@usfca.edu

Nikolay A. Krotkov
Senior Research Scientist
Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: 301-614-5553
E-mail: krotkov@tparty.gsfc.nasa.gov

Sasha Madronich, Senior Scientist
Section Head, Theoretical Studies and Modeling
Atmospheric Chemistry Division
National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Drive; P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307
Phone: 303-497-1430; Fax: 303-497-1400
E-mail: sasha@acd.ucar.edu

Barbara Prézelin
Head, Marine Primary Production Group
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone: 805-893-2879/4319; Fax: 805-893-4319 or 805-893-4724
E-mail: barbara@lifesci.ucsb.edu; barbara@icess.ucsb.edu

Raymond C. Smith
CSL/CENTER Remote Sensing and Environmental Optics
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Phone: 805-893-4709
E-mail: ray@crseo.ucsb.edu

next: Introduction
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Ultraviolet Radiation
Introduction
Effects on the Biosphere
What Determines UV at the Surface?
How Much Are We Getting?
Predictions and Monitoring
References