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New ultraviolet radiation sensor now online

28 August 2019

We’re pleased to announce that the newest location in our ultraviolet (UV) radiation monitoring network is now online.

In collaboration with the Central Highlands Regional Council, we have installed a new sensor in Emerald, Queensland, which will provide by-the-minute UV Index for the region.

The sensor detects UV radiation similarly to human skin, producing a UV Index. Sun protection is recommended when the UV Index reaches 3 or above.

ARPANSA scientist Dr Stuart Henderson travelled to Emerald to complete the installation and conduct maintenance training for onsite staff.

‘It’s great to be working with the council on this installation and to have Emerald as part of our network.’

Emerald is the fourth location in Queensland to join our UV monitoring network and the first inland location. The climate in Central Queensland is very different to that of the three coastal regions monitored in the state.

Residents and workers in the Emerald region can now access real-time UV Index information from our website and the SunSmart app. The expansion also provides our researchers and the Bureau of Meteorology with an important dataset of UV radiation to improve knowledge of UV in Australia and internationally.

‘Emerald has a lot of outdoor workers, so having real-time data on UV Index will help the council protect their workers and residents’ said Dr Henderson.

‘We’ve been assessing the data coming through and it is interesting to see that, even during winter, the UV Index has reached a maximum of 6 each day since the installation. This shows how valuable this sensor can be to people locally. It’s a good way to remind everyone to Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade and Slide on sunglasses to ensure protection from harmful UV radiation.’

Central Highlands Regional Council CEO Scott Mason said the collaboration was an initiative by council’s staff to work smarter and reinforce messaging of sun safety that people so easily become complacent about.

‘A lot of people in the Central Highlands, including in our organisation, spend significant time working outdoors,’ Mr Mason said.

‘From an employer perspective, we can provide all the appropriate protective equipment for UV exposure, but despite rules and requirements, installing the habit of doing the right thing and being aware of UV risks is not easy.

‘Having access to the data through this collaboration allows us to back our requirements with facts not only for our own employees but people in our communities – and researchers are able to use the data to build compelling models right here in our region.

‘It’s a win-win situation.’

Read more: ARPANSA expands ultraviolet radiation monitoring