Four spectroradiometers located at latitudes from 55° to 90°S conducted near-continuous measurements of ground-level solar ultraviolet irradiance from 1990 through 2001. The behavior during months from October through December is of special interest because this period includes the springtime loss in column ozone and the naturally large irradiances of early summer. Monthly integrated irradiances using biological weightings for erythema and damage to DNA show a distortion of the normal annual cycle in irradiance, with enhanced values occurring in October and November. In some cases, these irradiances exceed those near summer solstice in December. Changes in local cloudiness and column ozone both contribute significantly to interannual variability in erythemal irradiance. This is particularly the case at Palmer Station, near 65°S, where the monthly integrated erythemal irradiance in November 1997 was more than double that observed 5 years earlier. In general, at sites on the Antarctic continent, interannual variability in monthly integrated erythemal irradiance is greatest in November, when the observation for any given year can fall 40% above or below the multiyear mean. Near the tip of South America, interannual variability is approximately half that seen in Antarctica.
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Vol. 81 • No. 2