The 2002 revision of the UV index (UVI) issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Meteorological Office (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) (World Health Organization  Global Solar UV Index: A Practical Guide. WHO, Geneva) was motivated by the need to further standardize the use and presentation of the UVI. Awareness of the hazards of solar UV radiation (UVR) is generally high in Australia, but more effective use of the UVI will assist in promoting further changes to the population's sun exposure behavior. UVI levels for a number of cities around Australia as measured by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), covering the time period 1996–2000, are presented. Also shown are UVI forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Agreement between the BOM data and the measurements varies depending on the location but is within 2 UVI units approximately 75% of the time. UVI levels are supplied to the media, and in summer values in excess of 12–14 are regularly recorded, although the more northerly locations occasionally reach 16 and 17. The factors affecting the solar UVR environment and the measured UVI are also discussed and compared against measurements from the UK.
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Vol. 79 • No. 1