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Media Release
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers
for the Environment, Sport, Territories
and Local Government

International Ozone Day: Ultraviolet Radiation Forecasts Launched


16 September, 1996

EMBARGOED 10.30AM MONDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 1996

Senator Ian Campbell will launch the Bureau of Meteorology's first forecasts for ultraviolet radiation tomorrow, on the UN declared International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Senator Campbell says it is a timely launch of this important new service.

Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, says the predictions of ultraviolet radiation will help the national campaign against skin cancer.

Australia, through the Environment Protection Agency, all levels of government, industry and the community is a world leader in phasing out ozone depleting substances such as CFCs. However, prolonged exposure to UV radiation is still dangerous and Australia has the highest rate of skin cancers in the world.

Senator Campbell will launch the Ultraviolet B (UVB) index forecasts at the Bureau's Head Office in Melbourne. The internationally known index is the same as that already used by some media to present daily measurements of UVB.

"Australians are widely aware of the hazards associated with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation," Senator Campbell said. "The forecasts will help people to decide appropriate sun safety precautions."

The forecasts for noon the next day will be presented both as a national map with shadings for different UV intensities, and as a numerical value and descriptive category added to the Bureau's routine weather forecasts for media.

The service highlights the clear-sky value of UVB and also indicates the degree to which cloud is expected to affect the radiation for a particular location. Forecasts will also be available on Weather by Fax and the Bureau's World Wide Web Service (http://www.bom.gov.au).

A typical UVB forecast for a specified location might read: "UV Index 9 (very high) decreasing to 6 (high) under cloud".

Forecasting UVB intensity incorporates information on time, date, latitude, cloud, haze and ozone concentrations.

The Bureau worked with the Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology to develop a special global computer model which predicts ozone concentration, then calculates the intensity of UV radiation expected to reach the ground at any point in Australia.

Media are invited to attend the launch of the UVB forecast at the Bureau of Meteorology, 150 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, at 10AM on Monday 16 September. Video clips of computer animations of UVB changes, and ozone depletion, will be available.

Inquiries:

Mark Elliot, Senator Ian Campbell's Office, 06 277 3955; 0419 238 747
Chris Ryan, Bureau of Meteorology, 03 9669 4585; after hours, 03 9482 1504
Prof David Karoly, Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, 03 9905 9669
Dr Barry Carbon, Director EPA, 06 274 1949

Commonwealth of Australia