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Closing a gap in the UV measuring network at 2,600 m above sea level
BfS installs new measuring station for UV radiation on the Zugspitze mountain
Year of issue 2017
From the North German coasts to the Alps: With the installation of a new measuring station on the Zugspitze mountain, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) ensures that the UV radiation measurements cover all climate zones in Germany without any gaps. The data that can now be collected makes it possible to determine reliable and accurate values for the UV exposure in high mountain regions. This data is important for mountaineers, hikers or skiers so that they are able to protect themselves in the best possible way against UV radiation and the risk of sunburn.
The measuring device situated at the environmental research station "Schneefernerhaus" on the southern slope of the Zugspitze represents one of a total of 11 measuring points where BfS observes the UV radiation in Germany. The station determines the solar radiation at the ground, separated by individual wave lengths, at all times from sunrise to sunset. The measuring values are translated into the internationally standardised UV index. The index indicates the level of the current risk of sunburn. BfS operates the UV measuring network together with the German Environment Agency (UBA), the National Meteorological Service (DWD) and other institutions.
Over the last few years, consumers have learnt to rely on the UV index as an important source of information – similar to the pollen forecast, for example. In high mountain areas, the UV radiation intensifies with increasing height. However, people tend to underestimate the adverse health effects due to the lower temperatures and higher wind speed in these regions. Scientists all over the world agree that UV radiation induces cancer and that it is the primary cause for the occurrence of skin cancer.
The installation of the new measuring station at Schneefernerhaus helps to strengthen the collaboration with different scientific institutions that are also present at Schneefernerhaus. Experts collect data on the climate change and the alpine atmosphere at an international observatory in the Alps.
State of 2017.07.14