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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.

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


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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