MEETING THE CRITERIA: Dr Stuart Henderson conducted the site inspection with Council's Flood Mitigation Officer Bill Wilkinson.
MEETING THE CRITERIA: Dr Stuart Henderson conducted the site inspection with Council's Flood Mitigation Officer Bill Wilkinson. Jorunn Lorenzen

Instant UV data for Emerald

EMERALD will join Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville as the only other places in Queensland to get access to real-time ultraviolet radiation (UV) data.

Dr Stuart Henderson from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), was recently in Emerald to conduct a site inspection, after the Central Highlands Regional Council approached ARPANSA to install real-time UV sensors.

Dr Henderson explained that Emerald provides scientific interest in being a non-coastal location for a UV sensor in Queensland.

"In terms of why Emerald, well in Central Queensland it's a very sunny place,” Dr Henderson said.

"Our existing centres in Queensland are all along the coast, this one is inland where the climate is a little different.

"It gives scientific interest for us.”

Dr Henderson also said that ARPANSA considered the constant impact the sun has on workers in the region.

"Because of the clear skies and high levels of UV, its a big issue for the outdoor workforce in Central Queensland,” Dr Henderson said.

"We feel it's an important site to get the sun protection message out to those workers.”

The UV sensor data will be easily accessible, giving residents up to the minute data to protect themselves from sun damage.

"They can look on our website and get a near real-time update on what the UV sensors are putting up,” Dr Henderson said.

"Every minute it gets updated on our website and it draws a little graph throughout the day.

"The data is also fed to the SunSmart app.

"And we suggest people use the data too look at before they go outdoors, and see what the UV prediction is to make a better informed decision.”

Dr Henderson also provided detail into what constitutes the right balance of UV exposure.

"It's true that we do need some UV exposure to help form vitamin D and for general good health,” Dr Henderson said.

"However UV levels in Australia are particularly high, especially in Queensland.

"So you really don't need much sunshine to get your vitamin D requirements.

"Our recommendation is you should be trying to avoid excessive exposure when the UV index is 3 or above.”

The UV sensor is planned to be installed on the roof of the Central Highlands Regional Council building in Emerald, by July 2019.