Ultraviolet Radiation Definition
by Laurent Cousineau
Ultraviolet radiation is an electromagnetic wave that lies just outside of the violet end of the visible spectrum.
An estimated 5% of the total energy emitted by the sun is UV radiation.
UV is the major energy source for both the stratosphere and mesosphere. There, it plays an important role in chemical composition and energy balance.
Although most of the UV rays are blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere, some will still penetrate.
These rays are good in moderation as they will help plants during photosynthesis, and will produce vitamin D in humans.
However, too much ultraviolet radiation may:
- Burn skin
- Cause cancer
- Cause cataracts
- Damage vegetation
Ultraviolet Radiation and the Ozone Layer
Holes in the ozone layer will cause more ultraviolet radiation to penetrate the atmosphere.
Learn more about the ozone layer
Learn more about the ozone layer crisis
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