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IS UV-B INCREASING?
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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 5, MAY 1992

NEWS...
IS UV-B INCREASING?


Item #d92may116

Despite evidence that stratospheric ozone over most of the Earth has decreased in recent years, no evidence has been found for a corresponding increase in UV-B radiation that should have followed. Factors such as increasing levels of sulfate aerosols and tropospheric ozone could have offset any increase in UV, but a major complication is the lack of a network of instruments capable of detecting changes in UV-B. This need was the topic of a March 1992 workshop in Washington sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Alternative Fluorocarbons Environmental Acceptability Study (AFEAS). Researchers considered whether the Department of Agriculture should set up an expensive network of new instruments, or make do for now with an older type of instrument that has been in widespread use but is not sensitive enough to distinguish between UV-A and UV-B. (See Nature, p. 186, Mar. 19, 1992; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 5, Mar. 13.) Contact AFEAS, West Tower, S. 400, 1333 H St. NW, Washington DC 20005.

In a recent comment (Nature, pp. 104-105, Mar. 12, 1992), atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen discusses a theoretical estimate by Madronich (Geophys. Res. Lett., p. 37, Jan. 3, 1992; GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, Prof. Pubs./Ultraviolet MEasurement, Mar. 1992) of the UV-B increase that should have resulted from observed decreases in stratospheric ozone. Crutzen urges a world-wide network of UV-B monitoring stations as the only way to provide the data necessary to directly observe any UV-B increase.

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