Quality assessment of solar UV irradiance measured with array spectroradiometers
Abstract. The reliable quantification of ultraviolet (UV) radiation at the earth's surface requires accurate measurements of spectral global solar UV irradiance in order to determine the UV exposure to human skin and to understand long-term trends in this parameter. Array spectroradiometers (ASRMs) are small, light, robust and cost-effective instruments, and are increasingly used for spectral irradiance measurements. Within the European EMRP ENV03 project “Solar UV”, new devices, guidelines and characterization methods have been developed to improve solar UV measurements with ASRMs, and support to the end user community has been provided. In order to assess the quality of 14 end user ASRMs, a solar UV intercomparison was held on the measurement platform of the World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) in Davos, Switzerland, from 10 to 17 July 2014. The results of the blind intercomparison revealed that ASRMs, currently used for solar UV measurements, show a large variation in the quality of their solar UV measurements. Most of the instruments overestimate the erythema-weighted UV index – in particular at large solar zenith angles – due to stray light contribution in the UV-B range. The spectral analysis of global solar UV irradiance further supported the finding that the uncertainties in the UV-B range are very large due to stray light contribution in this wavelength range. In summary, the UV index may be detected by some commercially available ASRMs within 5 % compared to the world reference spectroradiometer, if well characterized and calibrated, but only for a limited range of solar zenith angles. Generally, the tested instruments are not yet suitable for solar UV measurements for the entire range between 290 and 400 nm under all atmospheric conditions.