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The Erythemal Index is a measure of ultraviolet (UV) radiation at ground level on the Earth. (The word erythema means an abnormal redness of the skin, such as is caused by spending too much time in the sun--a sunburn is damage to your skin cells caused by UV radiation.) Atmospheric ozone shields life at the surface from most of the harmful components of solar radiation. Chemical processes in the atmosphere can affect the level of protection provided by the ozone in the upper atmosphere. This thinning of the atmospheric ozone in the stratosphere leads to elevated levels of UV at ground level and increases the risks of DNA damage in living organisms.
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