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Rapid increase in global light pollution

London at night as seen from the International Space Station. Different colors are displayed, indicating different lighting techniques. Credit A. Sánchez de Miguel, ESA, NASA

According to a new study, global light pollution has increased by at least 49% in 25 years.


This figure includes only the light seen through the satellite, and scientists estimate that the actual increase could be significantly higher. Up to 270% worldwide and 400% in some regions.

This study, led by the University of Exeter, investigated luminescence from 1992 to 2017.

Although the findings show different regional trends, emissions are increasing almost everywhere and there is “limited evidence” that improved technology has reduced light pollution.

Dr. Alejandro Sanchez Demiger, lead author of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said:

“This study not only provides clear evidence of how serious light pollution has become a global problem, but it continues to worsen, perhaps faster and faster. It also shows that. “

This study highlights the “hidden impact” of the transition to solid-state light emitting diode (LED) technology.

LEDs emit more blue light than previous lamp technology, Satellite sensor We do not know this blue light, so we underestimate the level of emission.

Correcting this, the authors state that the actual increase in power emitted by outdoor lighting, and thus the actual increase in light pollution, can be as high as 270%.

The study found a sustained increase in light pollution in Asia, South America, Oceania, and Africa.

In Europe, detected light increased and leveled off until around 2010. In North America, it looks like it’s declining.

However, researchers say the move to blue-rich LEDs masks the fact that light pollution is increasing in most places.

“In the UK, for example, ignoring the effects of the widespread switch to LEDs gives the false impression that light pollution has recently diminished,” said Dr. Sanchez de Miguel.

“But if you fix this effect, you’ll see that it actually increased and potentially very significantly increased.

“Contrary to popular belief, the installation of’broad white’LED street lights can result in some energy savings, but at the same time increases light pollution and the impact on organisms such as moths. rice field. “

Ruskin Hartley, Secretary-General of the International Dark-Sky Association, said: “In the last 25 years, the transition to solid-state LED lighting has been accompanied by a rapid increase in light pollution worldwide.

“Without coordinated action to reverse this trend, the impact on the natural environment will accelerate, further exacerbate the biodiversity crisis, waste energy and grow the entire generation in eternal twilight. Means. “

Many studies now show that light pollution from street lights and other light sources can have a significant impact on the natural environment.

Such pollution may have affected a significant reduction in insect populations.

Papers published in the journal Remote sensing, Entitled “First Estimate of Global Trends in Nighttime Electricity” Emissions Reveals the acceleration of light pollution. “

The University of Exeter has launched a Green Futures campaign and website to promote action in response to environmental and climate emergencies.


Light pollution has complex effects on animal vision


For more information:
Alejandro Sánchez de Migueletal, the first estimate of global trends in nighttime electricity emissions reveals accelerated light pollution, Remote sensing (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / rs13163311

Quote: The rapid increase in global light pollution (September 14, 2021) was obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-rapid-global-pollution.html on September 14, 2021. it was done

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Rapid increase in global light pollution

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