Investigations on the effect of high surface albedo on erythemally effective UV irradiance: Results of a campaign at the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Joachim Reuder, Flavio Ghezzi, Eduardo Palenque, Rene Torrez, Marco Andrade, Francesco Zaratti

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15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Measurements and model calculations have been performed to study the effect of high surface albedo on erythemally effective UV irradiance. A central part of the investigation has been a one week measurement campaign at Salar de Uyuni in the Southern part of the Bolivian Altiplano. The Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt lake of the world, is characterized by largely homogeneous surface conditions during most of the year. Albedo measurements performed by an UV radiometer result in a reflectivity for erythemally effective radiation of 0.69 ± 0.02. The measurements show hardly any dependency on solar elevation, indicating the homogeneity of the surface and nearly isotropic reflection properties of the Salar. The effects of the high albedo surface on the erythemally effective irradiance, i.e. the UV index (UVI), has been experimentally determined by simultaneous measurements of several UV radiometers located at different sites around and on the Salar. In this context a method for the minimization of systematic deviations between the individual detectors used for the investigation is presented. It ensures the intercomparability of the performed UV measurements within ±2% which is a distinct improvement compared to the typical absolute accuracy of UV irradiance measurements in the order of ±5%. For solar elevations around 50° the UVI measured close to the center of the Salar is typically enhanced by 20% compared to the values determined outside. Towards lower solar elevations this increase becomes slightly weaker. The measurements agree well with both, own corresponding 1D and previously published 3D radiative transfer calculations from literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Volume87
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are very grateful to Mr. Gonzalo Gutiérrez for experimental help. We acknowledge the Volkswagen Foundation grant support which enabled this collaborative project.

Keywords

  • Albedo
  • Model validation
  • Salar de Uyuni
  • UV index
  • UV irradiance

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