UK & World News

  • 13 April 2014, 15:29

High UV Ray Threat Triggers Sunburn Warning

People are being advised to guard against an increased risk of sunburn due to stronger than usual ultraviolet rays normally associated with high summer.

The Met Office says the high UV levels are due to an "ozone anomaly" currently affecting the UK, where there is less of the gas in the upper atmosphere available to absorb the UV rays before they reach the ground.

The Met Office said: "This is quite normal and similar events have occurred previously around this time of the year.

"We are confident that the levels should be no higher than those of a sunny day in June.

But it added: "It is important that, if you are in an area that is particularly sunny over the next few days, you take steps to ensure that you and your family are protected from these increased UV levels.

"During the next few weeks, we will continue to keep an eye on these low ozone events (which can be seen in satellite data) in order to warn the public when they are happening."

Sky News Weather Presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: "UV levels are at their greatest when the sun is at its highest in the sky, so as we head into the summer months UV levels increase.

"At this time of the year, we usually expect levels of UV to be low to moderate, but today they could be higher due to an ozone anomaly affecting the UK at the moment where levels are noticeably lower than normal.

"This isn't an unusual occurrence and similar events have happened previously around this time of the year."

As well as the amount of ozone gas in the stratosphere, other key factors affecting the strength of UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface are the height of the sun in the sky, and the amount of cloud, dust and pollution in the atmosphere.

So-called "ozone anomalies" occur when low-level pockets that have formed near the North Pole over winter, due to the lack of sunlight, break away.

These can sometimes pass over the UK.