To Bright to be Right - Light Pollution Causes Concern

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

We all reckon that LED lighting is a good thing, in fact, a great thing. They produce high-quality light at a fraction of the energy consumption and cost when compared to incandescent lighting, plus LEDs last a lot longer. They cost a little more, and that ‘little' is getting smaller each year, but it all seems to be plusses for LEDs - until this week.

A recent study of satellite pictures of the Earth throughout the night reveals that the artificial light we use is increasing in brightness and becoming more extensive each year.

The world’s lit outdoor domain grew by 2% annually between 2012 and 2016, leading to scientists reporting that the “loss of night” in many lands is having a negative effect on the “flora, fauna and human well-being.”

These findings have been published in the Science Advances journal by a team of scientists, who used data from a radiometer on a Nasa satellite, which is designed to measure how bright night-time light is across the globe.

The report reveals that changes in the brightness of lights by country varied over time - the “brightest nations”, like Spain and the US, had not altered, while the light emitted from African, Asian and South American countries all increased.

Interestingly just a few countries showed a decrease, most notably Syria and Yemen, both in the grips of war!

The decrease was expected to be noted in the developed world, particularly from industrial and urban areas with the switch from sodium lights to LEDs; particularly as the satellite cannot measure the bluer section of the spectrum that comes from LEDs. This last fact also means the brightness increase is greater than can be recorded in those advanced countries.

The report highlights (sic) that apart from using energy saving LED lights we need to consider how we use them. It is not a case of just having bright lights, we need to direct the light to where we need it, and use lighting when we need it. Proximity sensors, directing the light, and also not being distracted by the brightness but the contrast produced means we have more efficient lighting, energy saving, cost savings and less light pollution.

Photo: NASA.

Categories: General, Reviews, Technology

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

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