Satellite-based personal uv dose estimation

Todd C. Harris*, Laurent Vuilleumier, Claudine Backes, Athanasios Nenes, David Vernez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiology and public health research relating to solar ultraviolet (UV) exposure usually relies on dosimetry to measure UV doses received by individuals. However, measurement errors affect each dosimetry measurement by unknown amounts, complicating the analysis of such measurements and their relationship to the underlying population exposure and the associated health outcomes. This paper presents a new approach to estimate UV doses without the use of dosimeters. By combining new satellite-derived UV data to account for environmental factors and simulationbased exposure ratio (ER) modelling to account for individual factors, we are able to estimate doses for specific exposure periods. This is a significant step forward for alternative dosimetry techniques which have previously been limited to annual dose estimation. We compare our dose estimates with dosimeter measurements from skiers and builders in Switzerland. The dosimetry measurements are expected to be slightly below the true doses due to a variety of dosimeter-related measurement errors, mostly explaining why our estimates are greater than or equal to the corresponding dosimetry measurements. Our approach holds much promise as a low-cost way to either complement or substitute traditional dosimetry. It can be applied in a research context, but is also fundamentally well-suited to be used as the basis for a dose-estimating mobile app that does not require an external device.

Original languageEnglish
Article number268
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dosimetry
  • Exposure assessment
  • Radiation
  • Satellite data
  • Solar UV


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