The image shown to the left is one of our climatological sites that constitute the UV radiation monitoring network within the USDA UV-B Monitoring and Research Program. Each site has a suite of instruments that measure downwelling radiation in various agriculturally important regions between 280 and 1040 nanometers. Detailed information about each instrument and each location can be found under the above Monitoring Network link.

UV Index for Apr 29, 2017 Local Time
Graph of UV Index is not available for this location

Latest News
April 2017

Dr. Xin-Zhong Liang will be visiting for two weeks beginning April 17. He will be discussing current research and the status of the climate-crop modeling system with our staff and other CSU faculty. Welcome Dr. Liang.

Our research paper, Determining climate effects on US total agricultural productivity, Xin-Zhong Liang, You Wu, Robert G. Chambers, Daniel L. Schmoldt, Wei Gao, Chaoshun Liu, Yan-An Liu, Chao Sun, and Jennifer A. Kennedy has been published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). It will also be featured in Nature's Research Highlights. The study finds that the United States agricultural economy is becoming increasingly sensitive to the climate. We compared 1948-2011 climate variables in specific United States regions to a measure of agricultural efficiency referred to as total factor productivity (TFP), which is the ratio of agricultural outputs per production input. TFP fluctuations were larger and were more tightly correlated with climate variations from 1981-2010 compared to 1951-1980. A regression model suggests that seasonal and regional temperature and precipitation fluctuations explain almost 50% of TFP growth variation from 1951-1980 and approximately 70% of TFP growth variation from 1981-2010. These findings suggest that agricultural productivity has become more sensitive to climate since 1980. Base on current climate projections under medium to high emissions scenarios, this could cause TFP to decrease by an average of 2.84%- 4.34% per year; in either case, TFP would fall to pre-1980 levels by 2050, despite accounting for present rates of innovation. The research was funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) UV-B Monitoring and Research Program, Colorado State University, under Grant USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Projects 2013-34263-20931, 2014-34263-22038, and 2015-34263-24070.

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Picture of our instruments at various locations
2006 Annual Caldwell Across the United States


Ultraviolet radiation is an important component of Earth’s environment. Over time, all life on Earth has slowly evolved under the influence of UV radiation. In addition to its effects on humans, this UV energy has been studied on small and large organisms alike, from powdery mildew on wine-grape crops to large-scale rangeland grasses and forests.

Because Earth’s ecosystems have evolved slowly in concert with global climate change, any abrupt modification of UV levels must be taken seriously by the scientific community. Such an abrupt impulse was detected in the mid-to-late period of the last century, when it was discovered that chemicals harmful to the Earth’s protective ozone layer were being emitted by societies across the globe. Satellite measurements soon pointed to significant ozone depletions over Antarctic regions, and later measurements showed similar, though less dramatic and more infrequent, ozone depletions over the Arctic region.

Since then, scientists in many disciplines have been investigating possible ramifications of changing UV levels. In 1991, as part of this response, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigated the need for a nationwide UV monitoring activity. Positive responses from the scientific community prompted USDA to initiate the UV-B Monitoring and Research Program. The program is tasked with establishing a UV climatology and studying the effects of UV radiation on a wealth of agricultural interests including crop plants, animals, rangelands, forests, and people involved in agricultural industries.

Located within Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, the USDA UV-B Monitoring and Research Program (UVMRP):

  • provides high-quality, geographically distributed ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation measurements in support of agricultural science research that studies UV-B effects on crops, forests, plants, ecosystems, humans, animals, and aquatic systems;
  • conducts UV-B impact studies on economically important crops and works with researchers nationwide to study the response of crops to UV-B radiation and other environmental stress factors; and
  • collaborates on developing the Climate-Agroecosystem- UV Interactions and Economic (CAIE) system, a comprehensive climate-crop model that assists with predicting effects of climate change on agriculture for the benefit of policymakers.