Influence of high levels of cloud cover on vitamin D effective and erythemal solar UV irradiances

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2012 Dec;11(12):1855-9. doi: 10.1039/c2pp25160d.


The solar irradiances for the initiation of vitamin D synthesis (UV(D3)) have been measured concurrently with the amount of cloud cover to investigate the influence of high cloud cover fraction. The cases of 6.5 and more octa cloud cover were considered for five solar zenith angle (SZA) ranges up to 80°. For each of the SZA ranges, the UV(D3) reduced due to the high cloud cover. The average of the ratios of the UV(D3) irradiances on a cloudy day to those on a clear day with the corresponding ozone and SZA are 0.71 for the 6.5-7.5 octa cloud and 0.45 for the more than 7.5 octa cloud ranges. The exposure times necessary to receive 1/3 MED to a horizontal plane were found to increase as the amount of cloud cover increased. For each cloud cover category, the range of values increased with cloud cover and with SZA. This research shows that the current public recommendations on the times of solar UV exposures required to produce adequate vitamin D are inappropriate for situations of more than 6.5 octa cloud.

MeSH terms

  • Climate*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D / biosynthesis*


  • Vitamin D