UV Index in Chile

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fahrvergnugen
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UV Index in Chile

Post by fahrvergnugen » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:58 pm

Question about UV Index in Chile. A few months ago I came across an article saying that new record readings were being recorded - very scary. Is this mostly something to be worried about during summer or does it apply during spring/fall/winter as well? Also, which areas of Chile are mostly affected or this a problem across the entire length of the country? FYI - I do not plan to live in Patagonia or near the Atacama desert ;-)

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by admin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:55 pm

Well, we are pretty screwed everywhere on the planet now. So, the difference between getting a sun burn in 10 mins and getting one in 20 is pretty pointless. A sun burn is bad, and any exposure is only slightly worse these days. I recall as a kid playing outdoor for hours or all day, without getting much more than a light tan. I just simply don't recall having many bad sun burns.

Anecdotal test of the ski resorts outside of Santiago indicate it is pretty dam intense. Stepped out of the truck last year at valle nevado ski resort without sun block on (10 am in the morning), and felt like there was a hot iron on the back of my neck after just a few mins. Promptly went to the industrial grade sun block. Both my brother and I applied sun block several times through out the day, and still my brother ended up with a blister around his eye from a burn. Think it was a combination however of goggles and sweat interfering with the sunblock in one spot, plus snow reflection.

Now further south it might be hypothetically even worse, except that we have cloud cover 90% of the year. Thus, 90% reduction on the intensity of the death ray. The few weeks of clear sun this year as I was working outdoors made me decide that working in the rain was much more comfortable.

You definitely want to stay away from the fluffy sun tan lotion they sell at the pharmacies for incredibly high prices. Even when it says SPF 30 or better, it is pretty worthless in terms of blocking anything. I buy the SPF 50 stuff they sell at the worker safety section of sodimac. The stuff the guys use standing on roads all day. Never had a problem with it, and seems to handle swet and water way better than the stuff sold at the pharmacies.
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zer0nz
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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by zer0nz » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:57 pm

admin wrote:Well, we are pretty screwed everywhere on the planet now. So, the difference between getting a sun burn in 10 mins and getting one in 20 is pretty pointless. A sun burn is bad, and any exposure is only slightly worse these days. I recall as a kid playing outdoor for hours or all day, without getting much more than a light tan. I just simply don't recall having many bad sun burns.

Anecdotal test of the ski resorts outside of Santiago indicate it is pretty dam intense. Stepped out of the truck last year at valle nevado ski resort without sun block on (10 am in the morning), and felt like there was a hot iron on the back of my neck after just a few mins. Promptly went to the industrial grade sun block. Both my brother and I applied sun block several times through out the day, and still my brother ended up with a blister around his eye from a burn. Think it was a combination however of goggles and sweat interfering with the sunblock in one spot, plus snow reflection.

Now further south it might be hypothetically even worse, except that we have cloud cover 90% of the year. Thus, 90% reduction on the intensity of the death ray. The few weeks of clear sun this year as I was working outdoors made me decide that working in the rain was much more comfortable.

You definitely want to stay away from the fluffy sun tan lotion they sell at the pharmacies for incredibly high prices. Even when it says SPF 30 or better, it is pretty worthless in terms of blocking anything. I buy the SPF 50 stuff they sell at the worker safety section of sodimac. The stuff the guys use standing on roads all day. Never had a problem with it, and seems to handle swet and water way better than the stuff sold at the pharmacies.

took your advice on that sunscrean, got a bottle for sodimac for our road trip!

fahrvergnugen
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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by fahrvergnugen » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:20 am

patagoniax wrote: Bogotá (CO) up to 15.6
Guayaquil (EC) (nearly on the equator) got up to 14.7

Santiago (CL) got up to 12.2
La Serena 12.7
Coyhaique (CL) 4.8
Cerro Sombrero (CL -Tierra del Fuego) 5.8

San Francisco CA got up to 4.8
Vancouver (sun? what sun?) stayed below 2.9 all week
Well, we live in Los Angeles and I personally rarely go into the sun and when I do I am packing SPF 30. Compared with those readings what we get here in CA however is nothing compared with Chile it seems. Case in point - here's a warning from mid July (highest UV readings of the year) when they were warning about a reading of 11:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/ ... -saturday/

As I'm considering an agricultural project in Chile readings of 13 or 14 may be a serious issue. On the upside harvest season would be pretty late in the year (late fall) and most likely I would not be the one working in the field anyway. Nevertheless - as a German with fair skin (and a monthly budget for visiting my dermatologist) this is a very important issue - I do not care much for skin cancer. Basically I would not be able to spend much time outside during the day in Chile, especially during the summer.

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by admin » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:28 am

yea, the problem with the UV index is they make it sound like there is no air anywhere (it is bad, but it is not like a toxic gas cloud). It is all about your personal exposure. If you don't spend a whole lot of time outside in your swim suit, then your UV exposure is pretty low.

Living where it rains a lot, not only is there cloud cover most of the time the rain and temperature simply discourages you from spending any great amount of time outside uncovered.

It is like the claim that flying is safer than driving. It was pointed out that is only true based on your exposure to the danger. Most people spend far more hours in cars exposed to the dangers of driving than flying.

So, if you live in sunny LA, and spend 40 hours a week working outside your 11 UV means whole lot more than 15 UV in Santiago to an office worker. I would be far more concerned about breathing smog in both places.
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wiscondinavian
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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by wiscondinavian » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:41 am

fahrvergnugen wrote:- as a German with fair skin (and a monthly budget for visiting my dermatologist) this is a very important issue - I do not care much for skin cancer. Basically I would not be able to spend much time outside during the day in Chile, especially during the summer.
Remember that sun-screen isn't the only way to protect you from the sun outside. Hats, parasols, and long sleeves all help. Hats have come back into my style here in Chile... rocking my local baseball team's cap or a fedora pretty much 100% of the time when on the beach. You also don't feel the sun so overbearing with the added shade...

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by griffin » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:50 am

My family is also fair-skinned and we spend plenty of time outside in the summer in La Serena--in the early mornings and late afternoons we don't even need sunscreen. During peak UV hours (about 11 am to 4 PM) we cover up and/or sunscreen thoroughly, (and don't forget the UV sunglasses) or stay in the shade and we are fine. It's only when we say "oh, we'll only be outside for a little while" that we get in trouble and sometimes get mild to moderate burns. On the winter side of the equinoxes we don't need sunscreen unless we'll be out for at least an hour during the middle of the day. It's not that difficult to develop good UV-avoidance habits. And when the UV is that strong, you really feel it, so you can't forget! I've gotten many more burns in lower-UV conditions where you don't feel the accumulating damage until it's too late.

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ryanar
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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by ryanar » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:44 am

Just wanted to throw in some related science...

Everyone should know (maybe you all do?), that the SPF rating on sunscreens relates only to UVB rays, not UVA or UVC.

The SPF rating isn't a linear scale. SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, SPF50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. For the graphically minded;
spf-vs-photons.jpg
spf-vs-photons.jpg (44.59 KiB) Viewed 2642 times
UVA penetrates the skin more deeply that UVB and is not deflected by cloud cover and therefore make up most of the UV radiation reaching you. It contributes to skin damage, cancer etc.

UVC is blocked out by what is left of the ozone layer...

There's plenty of good information on the 'net about this stuff.

All this might mean that there is an effective use for your tin foil hat after all, as long as it has a wide brim! :lol:

fahrvergnugen
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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by fahrvergnugen » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:59 pm

ryanar wrote:Just wanted to throw in some related science...

Everyone should know (maybe you all do?), that the SPF rating on sunscreens relates only to UVB rays, not UVA or UVC.

The SPF rating isn't a linear scale. SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, SPF50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. For the graphically minded;
spf-vs-photons.jpg
UVA penetrates the skin more deeply that UVB and is not deflected by cloud cover and therefore make up most of the UV radiation reaching you. It contributes to skin damage, cancer etc.

UVC is blocked out by what is left of the ozone layer...

There's plenty of good information on the 'net about this stuff.

All this might mean that there is an effective use for your tin foil hat after all, as long as it has a wide brim! :lol:
I think we all know the science but it's still a pretty cool picture - thanks for posting that. I usually spend as little time in the sun as possible. Stopped going to the beach as I simply looked ridiculous with my white face (i.e. SPF 50 cream), my UV protective jacket, long pants, etc. :-)

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by ukexpat » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:26 am

In preparation for my up coming visit to Chile I've just downloaded a popular (not necessarily accurate or up to date) guide book to Chile (The Rough Guide to Chile) and under the "Travel essentials" section it says:

"The main health hazards to watch out for are the heat and sun." ... "Always remember that the sun in Chile is fierce, so hats and bonnets are essential; this is especially true in the south where the ozone layer is particularly thin."

I looked at the date and it says "This fifth edition published September 2012", (I should have checked this before I paid and downloaded it) so it is over 2 years old now.

Is the ozone layer still thin now? And is sunburn really a bigger problem in the southern parts of Chile than further north?

My current logic is that the further south I travel, the cooler the climate would be, the lower the chance of sun-burn, and the lower the humidity?

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by susiedillon » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:52 am

The ozone layer is still thin over the southern part of the country, but the potential for sunburn is high everywhere in the southern cone. Its just even more so in the south. And whilst you are correct that it gets cooler as you go south, it actually gets wetter - there is more humidity in the air and more chance of rain at any time during the year. More than where ??? Well infinitely more than the Atacama region, but definitely more than the central regions too. Your tolerance for cold weather, rain and wind is severely tested in the southern extremes of this country.

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Re: UV Index in Chile

Post by Space Cat » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:40 am


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