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Global Nighttime Light Change from 1992 to 2017: Brighter and More Uniform

Nighttime light images record the brightness of the Earth surface, indicating the scope and intensity of human activities. However, there are few studies on the long-term changes in global nighttime lights. In this paper, the authors constructed a long time series (1992~2017) nighttime light dataset combining the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program/Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) and the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (NPP-VIIRS) data sources and observed the following: (1) Global nighttime lights have become brighter. The global nighttime brightness in 2017 was 2.2 times that of 1992. Approximately 40.3% of the lighted area was significantly brightened, and an area of 1.3 × 107 km2 transitioned from an unlighted area to a lighted area. (2) Approximately 85.7% of the nighttime light increase occurred in the low-brightness zone (LBZ). Therefore, global brightness has become more uniform than before. (3) China, India, and the United States have led the global lighting trend. The increase in Chinese nighttime lights is the largest, with an average annual growth of 6.48%, followed by the light growth in India, while the United States has the largest brightened area. (4) The changes in nighttime lights in developing countries (e.g., China and India) are closely and positively related to their electricity consumption, industrial added value and gross domestic product (GDP). The shift of the LBZ center from Asia to Africa indicates the intercontinental transition of poverty.

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Additional Info

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Author(s) Yunfeng Hu, Yunzhi Zhang
Last Updated February 11, 2021, 19:58 (UTC)
Created December 8, 2020, 04:49 (UTC)
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Date 2020-06-16
Publishing Body Sustainability
Content Type Publications
Primary Category Demographics & Socioeconomics
Sub Category Socioeconomics
Country Name Global
Publishing Organization New Light Technologies