This work investigates the occurrence frequency of days with high erythemal UV doses at three stations in Switzerland and Austria (Davos, Hoher Sonnblick and Vienna) for the time period 1974-2003. While several earlier studies have reported on increases in erythemal UV dose up to 10% during the last decades, this study focuses on days with high erythema! UV dose, which is defined as a daily dose at least 15% higher than for 1950s clear-sky conditions (which represent preindustrial conditions with respect to anthropogenic chlorine). Furthermore, the influence of low column ozone, clear-sky/partly cloudy conditions and surface albedo on UV irradiance has been analyzed on annual and seasonal basis. The results of this study show that in the Central Alpine Region the number of days with high UV dose increased strongly in the early 1990s. A large fraction of all days with high UV dose occurring in the period 1974-2003 was found especially during the years 1994-2003, namely 40% at Davos, 54% at Hoher Sonnblick and 65% at Vienna. The importance of total ozone, clear-sky/partly cloudy conditions and surface albedo (e.g. in dependence of snow cover) varies strongly among the seasons. However, overall the interplay of low total ozone and clear-sky/partly cloudy conditions led to the largest fraction of days showing high erythemal UV dose. Furthermore, an analysis of the synoptic weather situation showed that days with high erythemal UV dose, low total ozone and high relative sunshine duration occur at all three stations more frequently during situations with low pressure gradients or southerly advection. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.