Every day, the federal government calculates this intensity, or UV index, for 58 U.S. cities. In these locations and surrounding regions, an alert will signal if the next day's noontime UV environment--as ranked on a 1-to-11 point scale--is expected to reach 6 or higher, meaning that it "exceeds historical values" for the area.
Individuals can sign up for such automatic notifications at http://epa.gov/ sunwise/uvindex.html, or they can plug in their zip codes at the site for the next day's forecast. Such forecasts not only account for atmospheric ozone, which filters UV radiation, but also a region's altitude and cloud cover. Although haze can diminish UV exposure at the ground, and reflective ground surfaces increase an individual's exposure, EPA scientists say that the UV index doesn't currently incorporate these factors.
An estimated one in five U.S. residents will eventually develop skin cancer (SN: 8/13/05, p. 99), according to the Schaumburg, Ill.-based American Academy of Dermatology. The most intractable form, melanoma, will claim nearly 8,000 U.S. lives this year alone.--J.R.
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|Title Annotation:||Environmental Protection Agency, National Weather Service|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Sep 10, 2005|
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