Extreme ultraviolet radiation levels in Singapore not a cause for concern: Experts

Singapore experiences the least cloud cover from February to March. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Ultraviolet (UV) radiation here hit extreme levels during a three-hour period on Saturday (March 6).

Experts, however, have assured the public that there is nothing to be concerned about.

From 11.45am to 2.45pm, UV radiation was in the Extreme level and peaked at 14, according to the National Environment Agency's website.

The UV Index - an international standard measurement of UV radiation exposure levels - ranges from 0 to 11+ and covers various exposure categories, from low to extreme.

Associate Professor Koh Tieh Yong, a weather and climate scientist from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said: "Having the UV Index at 'extreme' levels is a common occurrence in countries near the equator, and is not new at all in Singapore. There is no cause for concern."

He said it is normal to have such high levels especially during this period, as Singapore experiences the least cloud cover from February to March.

Additionally, the sun is also climbing higher in the sky everyday as the spring equinox approaches later this month.

Dr Matthias Roth, Professor of Urban Climatology at the National University of Singapore's geography department, said that during the equinoxes in September and March, the position of the sun is directly above the equator.

This results in more intense solar radiation than during other times of the year, he said.

He added that the highest average levels of UV radiation throughout a year are reached at noontime during the month of March.

"The values in March are higher than those in September because of generally clearer skies... September is more cloudy," he added.

Dr Roth said that as we progress into April and then May, extreme UV radiation levels will disappear.

Associate Professor Koh said this will come with the transition into the inter-monsoon season in late March.

"Generally speaking, it is advisable to put on sunscreen of SPF30 or higher on exposed skin when outdoors for prolonged time between 11am and 3pm," he said.

However, people with sensitive skin or who suffer from skin problems should consult a medical doctor for advice, he added.

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