Several government and research organizations introduced a new ultraviolet ray index on Thursday that is designed to keep citizens informed about daily heat and sun conditions.
The announcement of the index concludes more than two years of work, and officials hope it will help reduce the risk of skin cancer and other sun related illnesses.
It is very important that Costa Rica has access to this information, said Jorge Rodríguez. It s important for health and the environment.
The new index uses small radiometers to register information about the levels of ultraviolet B, one of the sun s most harmful rays. The real-time information is fed to a computer which assigns a number to the level of UV-B in the ozone and indicates the necessary level of skin protection.
Zero through two is a minimal level and above 10 is very high. The index advises maximum skin protection on days that register higher than 10. Types of protection range from wearing a hat to staying indoors.
October through December register the lowest levels of UV-B, according to research by the National Meteorological Institute (IMN). March poses the highest risk some days register as high as 15 on top of Volcán Irazú.
Officials said the index will be available for every region of the country and information will be updated daily. The public can find the index on the IMN s website: www.imn.ac.cr/education/uv/indiceuv.html.