Organization: Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Research Title: UV-B Monitoring Network

Funding Level (millions of dollars):

FY94 2.5
FY95 1.6
FY96 1.6

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Component:
(a) Subcommittee: Global Change Research Committee (100%)
(b) Environmental Issue: Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation (100%)
(c) Research Activity: System Structure and Function: Long-Term Observations; Data Management

Organizational Component:
USDA/NRICGP
AG Box 2241
Washington, D.C. 20250-2241

Point of Contact:
Henry Tyrrel
Phone: 202-401-5611
E-Mail: htyrrell@reeusda.gov

Research Goals:
A monitoring network for ground level UV-B radiation in the United States is being established to assess trends and to identify factors which may be important in determining the risks from potential ozone depletion.

Research Description:
High priority is being placed on initially developing a pilot UV-B monitoring network. The database from this system is critical to determining if there is a discernible trend in UV-B radiation, and if a trend is identified, to assess what impacts on productivity of our terrestrial and aquatic resources may be anticipated.

Program Interfaces:
There is a significant group of scientists who are eager for the information the new network will provide. Interests range from human health effects to all other types of life sciences affected by solar radiation. Others concerned with UV-B effects on various materials are also following changes in UV-B levels. Network linkages are primarily through a Technical Committee composed of managers and bench scientists from interested Federal agencies and universities. The Committee provides advice and guidance for the program. There have been several international workshops, etc., to exchange information and develop cooperative efforts with present and future UV-B programs of other countries.

Program Milestones:
UV-B monitoring instrument characteristics and required operating parameters have been identified through an international workshop of UV-B experts. A grant was awarded for development of an advanced design UV-B spectroradiometer and contracts for construction were made. Final adjustments are being made in the first two instruments produced. Site selection will be completed and measurements initiated as soon as possible. Since 1989 competitive research grants have supported projects investigating UV-B effects on plants, providing new knowledge in this area.

Policy Payoffs:
National efforts to eliminate the destruction of stratospheric ozone layer through the international agreements reached at Montreal a few years ago were intended to prevent UV-B levels from rising rapidly. This monitoring network is intended to measure ground level UV-B and detect trends in this radiation. It must be established immediately to perform the intended measurements.