A general model to predict individual exposure to solar UV by using ambient irradiance data

David Vernez, Antoine Milon, Laurent Vuilleumier, Jean-Luc Bulliard, Alice Koechlin, Mathieu Boniol, Jean F Doré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Excessive exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) is the main cause of skin cancer. Specific prevention should be further developed to target overexposed or highly vulnerable populations. A better characterisation of anatomical UV exposure patterns is however needed for specific prevention. To develop a regression model for predicting the UV exposure ratio (ER, ratio between the anatomical dose and the corresponding ground level dose) for each body site without requiring individual measurements. A 3D numeric model (SimUVEx) was used to compute ER for various body sites and postures. A multiple fractional polynomial regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of ER. The regression model used simulation data and its performance was tested on an independent data set. Two input variables were sufficient to explain ER: the cosine of the maximal daily solar zenith angle and the fraction of the sky visible from the body site. The regression model was in good agreement with the simulated data ER (R(2)=0.988). Relative errors up to +20% and -10% were found in daily doses predictions, whereas an average relative error of only 2.4% (-0.03% to 5.4%) was found in yearly dose predictions. The regression model predicts accurately ER and UV doses on the basis of readily available data such as global UV erythemal irradiance measured at ground surface stations or inferred from satellite information. It renders the development of exposure data on a wide temporal and geographical scale possible and opens broad perspectives for epidemiological studies and skin cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • anatomical exposure
  • ambient UV
  • modelling
  • skin cancer
  • solar UV


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