An analysis of the temporal variation in the erythemally weighted UVB/UVA irradiance ratio using spectral data collected from a monitoring site in Chilton, UK (51°N) for the 5-y period from 2004 to 2008 is presented. The variation in the diurnal ratio was found to be bell-shaped, with minima on average 1 h after sunrise and before sunset. The minima were found to be indicative of the point at which UVB becomes undetectable by the spectroradiometer and therefore the outer boundary of useful data. A potential flaw entailed in the erythemal weighting of low-level spectral UV data is described. The peak daily ratio value was found to have a bell-shaped distribution over the course of a year with a maximum in July rather than at the summer solstice-a result explained by the ozone cycle. The peak daily ratio was found to vary by a factor of 4 over the course of the year; this range of variation was also found to occur over a single day in the summer. Published by Oxford University Press 2011.