Daily UV Forecasts now available on Met.ie

The daily Solar UV Index level is now available within the Regional Forecasts on the Met Éireann website and app. The UV Index maps and advice across the island of Ireland can be found here, while the UV Index for Europe is available at: DWD UV Index.

The UV Index

UV Index legend

HSE – NCCP SunSmart UV Index Advice

The UV index measures the strength of the sun’s UV rays so that we know how and when to protect against them. The higher the UV index level, the higher the risk of skin and eye damage.

The UV index varies depending on where you are in the world, the time of year, the time of day, cloud cover, altitude and surrounding surfaces. The UV is not always strongest when it is hottest.


What is UV radiation and how does it affect us?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun and other artificial sources (eg – sunbeds) that can cause both temporary and lasting effects to our bodies, including tanning, sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and, most notably, skin cancer.

As we move through spring and into summer, the potential impact of the UV rays continues to grow as the sun’s position gets higher in the sky. The peak height of the sun and strength of the UV rays coincide with the summer solstice in June, after which they start to decrease respectively, meaning they are as strong in May as in July, as strong in April as in August, and so on. This is a key point worth remembering – as while temperatures in May could be considerably lower than in July, the strength of the sun and the UV rays are the same, and so there is the same chance of being burnt when exposed to the sun.

Also, while cloud cover does reduce the sun’s intensity to a degree, UV rays can still penetrate thin or intermitted cloud, so sun protection should always be used at moderate UV levels or above, particularly between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm, when UV is strongest.

UV rays can reach us directly from the sun and can also be reflected off different surfaces and scattered by particles of air. While we can see sunlight and feel the sun’s heat, we cannot see or feel the sun’s UV rays and so often we don’t notice the impacts until after they have occurred.


How to protect against UV rays

Met Éireann’s Solar UV Index is a key component of the annual SunSmart campaign, run by the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), in collaboration with Healthy Ireland and cross-sectoral partners to support people to reduce their risk of skin cancer by protecting their skin from the sun.

The five points of advice of the HSE’s SunSmart campaign- graphic

The five points of advice of the HSE’s SunSmart campaign

The UV Index page has more detailed information on how to protect yourself during the spring and summer months, along with measurements from one of our Brewer Spectrophotometers, which measure ozone and compute the UV levels.