Monitor and examine UV-B radiation at the Earth’s surface

The climatological network is designed to provide an adequate density of measurement sites to establish the spatial and temporal characteristics of UV-B irradiance for the development of a UV climatology for the United States. The network follows a grid-based design that divides the country into 26 regions of approximately equal area. Sites are located primarily in rural areas, with particular consideration given to agricultural and forest regions. Specifically, the monitoring network:

  • Provides information to the agricultural community and others about the climatological and geographical distribution of UV-B radiation in support of developing a UV climatology
  • Furnishes baseline information necessary to support evaluations of the potentially damaging effects of UV-B radiation upon agricultural crops, forests, and grassland.
  • Supplies ground truth for satellite measurements of UV-B radiation, and basic information for radiation transfer model calculations
  • Provides in-situ data in support of the development of a regional-scale modeling system to study potential future impacts of changing climate on crop production.
  • Provides additional data such as Photosynthetically Active Radiation, Erythemal Irradiance, Daily/Hourly Sums, Optical Depths, and Synthetic Spectra

Study the interaction among UV-B radiation, agriculture crops and production, forest, ecosystem, and climate

With collaborators from Mississippi State University and Colorado State University, the UVMRP studies the isolated effects of UV-B radiation and combined effects of UV-B radiation with other climate stress factors such as moisture, temperature, ozone, soil nutrients, and CO2 on agricultural crops/production. Data derived from these studies are quantified as modules for incorporation into integrated climate-crop model systems. UV-B radiation effects study goals are:

  • Understand both the negative and compounding effects of UV-B radiation on agricultural crops/production in isolation or in concert with other climate stress factors
  • Develop quantitative algorithms that can be incorporated into climate-crop model systems
  • Work with agronomists to develop possible solutions to overcome the effects of UV-B radiation on agricultural crops

Develop an Integrated Agricultural Impact Assessment System

To study the possible effects of environmental change on agricultural interests, UVMRP activities are focused on challenging our current understanding of factors that influence the quantity and quality of plants that may be stressed by environmental change, using an integration of observed data, mathematical models, and remote-sensing technology. With collaborators from the University of Maryland and Mississippi State University, UVMRP is developing the Climate-Agroecosystem-UV Interactions and Economic (CAIE) system. This system will be capable of achieving credible and quantitative assessments of key stress factors in addition to evaluating alternative cultural practices for sustainable agriculture production.