Estimation of pedestrian level UV exposure under trees

Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Apr;75(4):369-76. doi: 10.1562/0031-8655(2002)075<0369:eoplue>;2.


Trees influence the amount of solar UV radiation that reaches pedestrians. A three-dimensional model was developed to predict the ultraviolet-B (UV-B) irradiance fields in open-tree canopies where the spacing between trees is equal to or greater than the width of individual tree crowns. The model predicted the relative irradiance (fraction of above-canopy irradiance) under both sunlit and shaded conditions under clear skies with a mean bias error of less than 0.01 and a root mean square error of 0.07. Both model and measurements showed that the locations people typically perceive as shady, low-irradiance locations in the environment can actually have significant UV-B exposure (40-60% of that under direct sunlight). The relationship of tree cover in residential neighborhoods to erythemal UV-B exposure for children and adults was modeled for the 4 h around noon in June and July. Results showed that human exposures (on the horizontal) in cities located at 15 and 30 degrees latitudes are nearly identical. For latitudes between 15 and 60 degrees, ultraviolet protection factors (UPF) were less than 2 for less than 50% tree cover. A UPF of 10 was possible at all latitudes for tree cover of 90%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Trees*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*