UV index and the Austrian measuring network

The UV index as a measure for health-relevant UV radiation is measured by order of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism on measuring sites which are representative for Austria.

Since 1998, the measurement of the UV index has been carried out by the Division for Biomedical Physics of the Medical University of Innsbruck in cooperation with the company CMS Ing. Dr. Schneider GmbH. The maximum UV index values of the respective day are published at uv-index.at as well as at the teletext of the Austrian Broadcasting Station ORF on page 644 on subpage 5. The internet publication comprises the daily maximum values as well as index courses as graphs and maps. The chart presentation includes also the self-developed visualisation of UV-B exposure. Maps with the maximum value of the day can be retrieved for days from 2004 onwards.

The UV index has been defined as internationally standardised measure for the intensity of the UV radiation contained in the sunlight on the earth’s surface. In this context, the shares of the UV index radiation damaging the skin are particularly taken into consideration. The values of the UV are increasing from 0 onwards, in Austria in summer with clear sky in low-lying areas values of up to 8 are recorded, in the mountains even higher values. The decisive factor for the exposure is the highest measured (or predicted) value of the day.  

Depending on the level of the UV index a distinction is made between various categories of UV exposure

UV-Index Exposure Description
0–2 low No special protective measures are required.
3-5 moderate Protection is recommended in the case of a longer stay in the sun in particular for the sensitive skin types I and II.
6-7 high Protective measures are required.
8-10 very high Protective measures are absolutely necessary, avoid direct sun around midday.
over 10 extreme Protective measures are absolutely necessary, avoid direct sun around midday.

Protective measures include sunglasses, clothing, and sun cream. There is a rule of the thumb that the sun protection factor of the sun cream should be at least twice as high as the UV index. People with the particular sensitive skin types I and II as well as children, however, should in general select in the case of a high UV index or a longer stay in the sun a sun protection factor, which is as high as possible (see also: Recommendations for the behaviour in the sun).