Influence of the calibration on experimental UV index at a midlatitude site, Granada (Spain)
Abstract. The ultraviolet index (UVI) is the most commonly used variable to inform about the level and potential harmful effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth's surface. This variable is derived from the output signal of UV radiometers applying conversion factors from calibration methods. This paper focused on the influence of the use of two of these methods (called one-step and two-steps methods) on the experimental UVI measured by a YES UVB-1 radiometer located in a midlatitude station, Granada (Spain) for the period 2006–2009. In addition, it also analyzes the deviation from the UVI values obtained when the manufacturer's calibration factors are applied. For this goal, a detailed characterization of the UVB-1 radiometer from the first Spanish calibration campaign of broadband UV radiometers at the "El Arenosillo" INTA station in 2007 was used. In addition, modeled UVI data derived from the LibRadtran/UVSPEC radiative transfer code are compared with the experimental values recorded at Granada for cloud-free conditions.
Absolute mean differences between measured and modeled UVI data at Granada were around 5% using the one-step and two-steps calibration methods, indicating an excellent performance of these two techniques for obtaining UVI data from the UVB-1 radiometer. Conversely, the application of the manufacture's calibration factor produced a large overestimation (~14%) of the UVI values, generating unreliable alarming high UVI data in summer. Thus, the number of days with an extreme erythemal risk (UVI higher than 10) increased up to 46% between May and September at Granada. This percentage reduced to a more reliable value of 3% when the conversion factors obtained with the two-steps calibration method are used. These results evidence the need for a sound calibration of the broadband UV instruments in order to obtain reliable measurements.