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Sci Adv. 2017 Nov 22;3(11):e1701528. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1701528. eCollection 2017 Nov.

Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent.

Author information

1
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam 14473, Germany.
2
Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin 12587, Germany.
3
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, Granada C.P. 18008, Spain.
4
Dept. Astrofísica y CC. de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid 28040, Spain.
5
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
6
Centre for Geography, Environment and Society, University of Exeter, Penryn TR10, UK.
7
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA.
8
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK.

Abstract

A central aim of the "lighting revolution" (the transition to solid-state lighting technology) is decreased energy consumption. This could be undermined by a rebound effect of increased use in response to lowered cost of light. We use the first-ever calibrated satellite radiometer designed for night lights to show that from 2012 to 2016, Earth's artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2.2% per year, with a total radiance growth of 1.8% per year. Continuously lit areas brightened at a rate of 2.2% per year. Large differences in national growth rates were observed, with lighting remaining stable or decreasing in only a few countries. These data are not consistent with global scale energy reductions but rather indicate increased light pollution, with corresponding negative consequences for flora, fauna, and human well-being.

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