Written by the Web Team
With hotter days during dry seasons, researchers based at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are advised not to bask under the sun when the UV index reaches 6. UV index is the measure of the UV radiation level entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
To inform the researchers of the UV index, Dr. Jasper Tallada, PhilRice consultant and engineer, developed a tool that provides easy access to weather information.
Tallada said that the Intersun Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) crafted the UV index table for its health promotion programs. The values of the UV index range from zero upward. The higher the number, the greater the potential damage to the skin and the eye.
Zero means no UV, 1-2 as low (green), 3-5 as moderate (yellow), 6-7 as high (orange), 8-10 as very high (red), and 11 above as extreme (purple) UV.
The WHO strongly associated the increased incidence of skin cancer worldwide with excessive exposure to UV radiation. The organization identified an individual`s personal habits to sun exposure as the top risk factor for UV radiation.
Together with a team from the PhilRice Climate Change Center, Tallada linked the system that provides agrometerological data from weather stations to the television monitor flashed in PhilRice’s main lobby.
The screen shows the current air temperature, relative humidity, and UV index in the four branch stations at Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, and Albay. The system updates every 15 minutes.
“The tool may seem simple but we believe that it is our responsibility to inform our stakeholders on the current weather situations in real-time so that they can protect themselves from the potential harm caused by extreme climates,” Tallada explained.
The highest UV index that Tallada’s team recorded was 12.7. He said that UV index peaks at about 12 noon until 3 pm. Thus, he advised researchers to schedule field activities earlier than 10 am or later than 3 pm.
“We wonder how cautious we are in terms of shielding ourselves from UV rays. Literature says the effects may be slow to occur but the resulting illness may be chronic in the long run. If we can prevent it from getting to us, then we should,” Tallada said.
“We are initially targeting PhilRice workers as our audience. But in the future, we hope to develop a way on how to make this useful information handy to farmers or top the public,” Tallada added.
The team is currently exploring the use of information and communication technology to further develop the system. In the meantime, they plan to include data of rainfall and leaf wetness in the list.