Thursday, June 09, 2011

UV Radiation article

Cuzco and Ultraviolet Radiation

• Researchers at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have discovered that
Cuzco, Peru is the site where the highest levels of ultraviolet (UV) rays occur on Earth.
• The strength of UV radiation is measured in terms of the UV index. Typically, on this scale, UVI levels
over 10 are considered dangerous to even somewhat prolonged exposure. In an area with a UVI rate of 10, a
fair-complexioned person will typically begin to experience sunburn after half an hour.

Cuzco has a measured peak UVI of 25, considered extremely hazardous to exposed skin.

Fig. 5:  each “pixel” represents a different measured zone. The zone centered over Cuzco (as
indicated on the map) was the only one to top a peak UVI index of 22.

Several factors contribute to this:

  • Cuzco’s elevation, at roughly 2.7 km above sea level. Air scatters and absorbs UV rays; the higher up, the less air to absorb UV.
  • Cloud cover. Clouds absorb, on average, 30% of UV rays. Cuzco, particularly during its dry season, has far fewer clouds, and they contribute to only a rough 9% absorption rate.
  • Ozone depletion. Ozone is a great absorber of ozone. It’s depletion has affected Cuzco, especially during the summer months when moving thinner patches of the ozone layer center over Peru.
  • Peru has the third-highest skin cancer rate in South America; the rate in Cuzco is roughly 8% higher than the rest of the country. Exposure to UV rays is a significant contributor to the formation of skin cancer.

(Source: Liley, J. Ben and Richard McKenzie. “Where on Earth Has the Highest UV?” UV Radiation and Its Effects: 
Update. April 2006. NIWA, Hamilton, New Zealand. Source: Environmental Protection Agency. This information can be found at

Monday, June 06, 2011


Where to begin....

There is so much to write about that I doubt I can fit it into one post. Besides it's late already, kids are finally in bed and I'm exhausted! I probably owe you (two or three) faithful readers several posts to update you on our lives the last several weeks... and I need to write a newsletter to all 250 people on our contact list, 10 of which probably actually read our newsletter (which deserves a blog post all of its own). Needless to say, we are here and for the most part well!

I should just start with now and work my way backwards. So yesterday was the second and final round of presidential elections here in Peru. Our concerns have become a reality, as Ollanta Humala was elected president. His speech last night included something to the effect of, I will help grow the Peruvian economy! It was not a surprise however that the Peruvian stock market fell 12.45% today, they had to close early to keep it from going any lower. It is the largest fall in Peruvian history. This is just the beginning, and if Humala actually intends to help the Peruvian economy grow, he has his work cut out for him. Humala has a bad history - everything from conspiring with the narco-traffickers to violations of human rights. The fear of many is that he is and will be a dictator. As the world is overturning these types of governments, the Peruvians just voted one in. We shall see what the future holds.

Saturday was our first day back to children's Bible school, it was so much fun seeing all those little faces again. I missed them! Janet and Jorge did a great job "holding down the fort"... they really don't need us anymore... or maybe they do, but they are doing so well and we are so proud!

Last week we flew back from the States.... it was a pretty easy journey with Isabella and Milan. It was overnight and since we got to the airport so early, we got the wide seats with no one in front of us. That was a blessing. We set up a little bed on the floor for Isa and she slept well the whole night and we had to wake her for landing in Lima. Milan, on the other hand, had Isa's seat but since he was uncomfortable the whole night, he tossed and turned and almost fell out of the seat several times and wasn't enjoying sleeping in our arms. He managed to sleep a few hours and I slept a few winks in between. It took a few days to catch up.. but here we are and our house was intact and unharmed except for a tremendous layer of dust covering everything. Apparently the city took out the pavement on a road up above our house and they haven't started repaving it yet. Meanwhile, all that red dirt is being blown down into our neighborhood and through the cracks in our windows and doors. It was gross.. it still is. I was just thinking about washing our clothes and hanging them up to dry with that dust floating through the air. Times like this, I wish we had a dryer (which I never thought I'd actually say out loud on a blog post) but we just got back from the States with all sorts of comforts, so I have the right, right?

I will post again about our trip to the States, but I'll just say briefly that we had an amazing time. We were received with so much love by so many people. It was such a short time there and it seemed like every day was a whirlwind of activity. I missed the slow-paced life and was soon tired by the complicated, busyness in the US, but it was so nice seeing all the wonderful people. We were blessed by their humble and good hearts. Our spirits were lifted. I came to several realizations while we were there, which I may or may not post on, but we learned so much .. and it's funny for me to even be writing this, since I was born and raised there, but after being gone for several years, my viewpoint has changed... we learned so much about hospitality, parenting, family, friendship, leadership and the church.

It was a busy trip, but we spent as much time with our family and doing fun things with our kids. We wanted them to thoroughly enjoy themselves, which they did. We got to visit many different cities and fun places like Sea World and Disneyland. Isabella started crying tonight when she saw photos of her two cousins, Madison and Trinity... she said, I want to be there with them. It makes me so sad, but it also blesses me to see her creating relationships that are meaningful and will be lifelong.

Closing for now, I have a sick little one who just awoke