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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2005 May;4(5):429-37. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

Enhanced UV exposure on a ski-field compared with exposures at sea level.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Personal erythemal UV monitoring badges, which were developed to monitor the UV exposure of school children, were used to measure UV exposures received by one of the authors (MA) at the Mt Hutt ski-field, in New Zealand. These were then compared with measurements taken at the same times from a nearby sea level site in Christchurch city. The badges were designed to give instantaneous readings of erythemally-weighted (i.e., "sun burning") UV radiation and were cross-calibrated against meteorological grade UV instruments maintained by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA). All skiing and calibration days were clear and almost exclusively cloud free. It was found that the UV maxima for horizontal surfaces at the ski-field (altitude approximately 2 km) were 20-30% greater than at the low altitude site. Larger differences between the sites were observed when the sensor was oriented perpendicular to the sun. The personal doses of UV received by a sensor on the skier's lapel during two days of skiing activity were less than those received by a stationary detector on a horizontal surface near sea level. The exposures depended strongly on the time of year, and in mid-October the maximum UV intensity on the ski-field was 60% greater than in mid-September. The UV exposure levels experienced during skiing were smaller than the summer maxima at low altitudes.

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