Although Tasmania is not feeling the heat of summer just yet, ultraviolet (UV) protection is already necessary according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

“It is really important that people don’t just use the temperature to determine if there is a risk,” Bureau of Meteorology Supervising Meteorologist, Simon McCulloch, said.

“As we move into the spring and summer months, we will see warmer days and higher UV ratings, but it won’t be the temperature that decides the UV rating,” he said.

Mr McCulloch said that although some people still believe the UV rating is determined by how hot it is on the day, the rating will actually be determined by several factors including the angle of the sun, the amount of cloud cover, surface reflection, and the time of day and time of year.

“We could have a day in October that is 16 degrees and another day in the same month that reaches 26 degrees, but both days can potentially have the same UV rating,” he said.

“The risk is there even if the heat isn’t, so it is essential that people stay protected when outside.”

The Bureau of Meteorology provide daily and three-hourly UV index forecasts that covers land and coastal areas to assist the public in making the best decision for sun protection against UV damage that can cause sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin cancer, including melanoma – one of the most serious types of skin cancer.

According to Melanoma Tasmania Founder, Di Mason, melanoma is the third most common cancer in Tasmanian women and the fourth most common cancer in Tasmanian men.

“Even though we know what causes it and how to minimise our risk, it [melanoma] remains one of our most commonly diagnosed cancers,” Ms Mason said.

“We need a whole of population approach in changing our sun worshipping habits of old as prevention is one of the biggest weapons we have against this disease.

“We have access to forecasts; we can check the UV rating each day, during the day, so we need to be proactive and plan our days making sure to follow the basic principles of sun protection by seeking shade, wearing appropriate clothing, and wearing hats, sunscreen and sun glasses.”

Australia has one of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world with sun protection required all year round for northern parts of the country, and all of Australia from September to April.

Sun protection measures are recommended when the UV index is three (3) and above.

BOM UV index forecasting available at www.bom.gov.au/tas/ and www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/

For more information on UV, visit www.bom.gov.au/uv/ or watch this video at Melanoma Tasmania

For more information on Melanoma Tasmania, visit www.melanomatas.org.au/
Kelly McNeill. Media and Communications Manager, Tasmania and Antarctica