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Iran J Public Health. 2010;39(3):70-81. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Diurnal variations in solar ultraviolet radiation on horizontal and vertical plane.

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Dept. of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, 110001, China.



In general, measurements of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation are related to horizontal surfaces. While the humans walking and standing outdoors expose to the natural solar UV radiation, their eyes, cheeks, extremities, trunks, or many other anatomical sites are close to vertical plane and random orient to different directions. In this study, we characterized the diurnal variations in solar UV on horizontal and vertical plane which may be helpful to obtain more relevant information on UV exposure of humans.


The UV exposure on vertical and horizontal plane were measured using Solar-UV Sensors in Shenyang (41°51″N, 123°27″E) and Sanya (18°19'N, 109°42'E), PR China.


As the well known, the diurnal variations in solar UV on horizontal plane in a sunny day exhibited unimodal distributions, reached a single UV peak exposure at around solar noon. However, the diurnal variations on vertical plane presented bimodal distributions, with two peaks in summer in Shenyang and Sanya, and a unimodal distribution in winter in Shenyang. In spring and autumn in Shenyang, the UV exposure around noon were slightly flat with no significant peaks but relative high. When the Solar Elevation Angle (SEA) is about 40°, the vertical plane may potentially receiving maximal unweighted total solar UV radiation exposures.


The results potentially showed that the protection of some vertical and near-vertical anatomical sites of human body from high UV exposure should not only focused on the periods of before and after noon especially in high SEA places.


Horizontal plane; Solar radiation; UV exposure; UV radiation; Vertical plane


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