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Readings of ultraviolet radiation in Singapore reach “extreme” records

Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has announced that the ultraviolet radiation level in Singapore has recorded "extreme" readings this week, reaching the highest of 15 on Monday (19 February) at 1 pm and 2 pm.

According to MSS, this is not the first time Singapore has hit the highest value of 15 on the index, as this was also seen at 2 pm last Tuesday, as well as at 1 pm on both 8 and 17 September 2017.

The UV index ranges from 0 to 11+ and are grouped into various exposure categories indicating the potential for harmful effects to the skin and eyes.

Source: MSS.

The agency stressed that extra protection against sunburn is needed when the value hits very high levels of between 8 and 10, and extreme levels of 11 and above.

MSS has said that Singaporeans can expect drier and warmer weather, following a mostly cool and wet January.

MSS' fortnightly weather outlook noted that some warm days can be expected in the second half of the month, noting that the daily maximum temperature possibly reaching a high of around 34 degree.

It also said that the daily maximum temperature is forecast to be around 32 degree or 33 degree on most days, while the daily minimum temperature is expected to range between 23 degree and 24 degree.

MSS spokesman told The Straits Times that the weather on Monday had been fair with little cloud cover in the early afternoon.

The readings, which was recorded between 11 am and 3 pm, said that some of the highest UV Index values recorded included 12 last Friday (16 February), 13 last Saturday and Sunday, 15 on Monday and 14 on Tuesday.

He also said that said that the UV Index varies with factors such as time of day and time of year, latitude (proximity to the Equator), altitude and cloud cover.

As countries near equator are exposed to higher levels of solar UV radiation, it is common for the country to see the index reaching extreme levels during a four-hour period from 11am to 3pm, when the sun intensity peaks and UV radiation is strongest, adding, "Under less common conditions when the skies are clear or almost cloud free, more UV radiation can reach the earth's surface."

NEA stated that February is also among the months of the year when the average daily maximum UV Index hovers at "very high" levels with an average of 9 in February.

The spokesman also said that excessive exposure to solar UV radiation can result in harmful effects to the skin and eyes.

MSS said that there are some protective measures to take to minimise the effects if you are out in the sun, especially between 11 am and 3 pm when the UV index levels are highest:

  • Use sunscreen (at least SPF 30)
  • Use an umbrella and seek shade
  • Wear sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat

More information on factors that affect UV radiation is available here.