Rising Global light pollution brightening Earth at night

The world is becoming brighter, but scientists say that might not be a fantastic thing.

Researchers said on Wednesday satellite data revealed that Earth’s artificially lit outside surface at night climbed by about 2 per cent annually in area and brightness from 2012 to 2016, underscoring concerns about the ecological effects of light pollution on humans and animals.

The rate of growth found in developing countries was much quicker than in brightly lit wealthy nations.

The researchers said the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite data may understate the situation since its sensor can’t detect a number of the LED lighting that’s becoming more widespread, especially blue light.

“Earth’s night is becoming brighter. And I actually did not expect it to be uniformly true that all these countries are getting brighter,” said physicist Christopher Kyba of this GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, who led the study published in the journal Science Advances.

With few exceptions, expansion in night light was observed throughout South America, Africa and Asia. Light remained stable in just a few countries. These included a number of the world’s brightest for example Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the USA, even though the researchers said the satellite sensor’s “blindness” to a LED light may conceal a genuine increase.

Australia’s lit area diminished because of wildfires. Night light dropped in war-hit Syrian and Yemen.

Ecologist Franz Hölker of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) said light pollution has environmental consequences, with natural light cycles interrupted by artificial light introduced to the nighttime atmosphere. Increased sky glow can impact human sleep, ” he noted.

“Along with threatening 30 percent of vertebrates which are nocturnal and more than 60 percent of invertebrates which are nocturnal, artificial light additionally affects plants and microorganisms,” Hölker stated. “It threatens biodiversity through altered night customs, such as migration or reproduction patterns, of many distinct species: insects, amphibians, fish, birds, birds and other creatures.”

Kyba said night lighting also obscures the celebrities that people have seen for millennia.

Experts had expected the growing use of highly efficient LED lighting may lessen energy use globally. The new findings suggest use of artificial lighting rather is increasing, increasing energy demand.

“While we are aware that LEDs save energy in particular jobs, such as when a town changes all its street light from sodium lamps to LED, once we examine our data and we consider the national and the international level, it suggests that these economies are being offset by new or brighter lights at different places,” Kyba stated.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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