Solar irradiance measurements from Ushuaia (Argentina) and Palmer and McMurdo Stations in Antarctica covering four seasons from mid-1993 through early 1997 have been analyzed and their variations compared with column ozone changes. UV irradiances were weighted for biological effectiveness using a published biological weighting function for dose-dependent inhibition of photosynthesis by phytoplankton from the Weddell Sea. All calculations involved integrated daily UV doses and visible exposures (weighted UV and unweighted visible irradiances, respectively). The results show that daily biologically effective total UV doses underwent large short-term variations at all three sites, with day-to-day increases up to 236% at Ushuaia, 285% at Palmer and 99% at McMurdo. Parallel changes in visible exposure indicated that the total UV changes were preponderantly due to variations in cloudiness. On a 12-month basis, daily biologically effective UV doses correlated strongly with visible exposures (R ≥ 0.99). Anticorrelations of total UV with ozone, on the other hand, were poor (R > −0.11). The largest daily biologically effective UV doses, and their day-to-day increases, occurred as part of the normal variability related to cloud cover and were seldom associated with significant ozone depletion. UV dose/visible exposure ratios tended to reflect ozone depletion events somewhat more consistently than UV doses alone. With the Weddell Sea phytoplankton weighting function used in this study, antarctic ozone hole events were seldom readily discernible in the biologically effective UV record. The results suggest that, where the UV sensitivity of organisms was similar to that of the Weddell Sea phytoplankton, seasonal ozone depletion had no appreciable effect on annual primary productivity during the 1993–1997 period. Additional data on the geographical and seasonal variation of biological weighting functions are desirable for more comprehensive assessments of ozone depletion effects at high southern latitudes.
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Vol. 72 • No. 6