Lighting Up the Night

Lighting Up the Night

I’m sure most of you have seen those beautiful images of Earth at night, including the latest ones from the Suomi-NPP Satellite. They’re a great illustration of how much of the planet’s surface we humans dominate.

But how is that domination changing over time in fast-growing Asia? That’s a question Christopher Small of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory has explored using satellite data. The beautiful image at the top of this post is the result of his research. I’ll explain the details in a minute. But first, the overall findings…

As described in a paper Small published recently with a colleague in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, between 1992 and 2009, south and east Asia experienced an 18 percent increase in the number of spatially distinct lights, and an 80 percent rise in the lighted area.

For China and India specifically, the changes were even more significant. While the number of lights in both countries increased by 20 percent, the lighted area expanded by a whopping 270 percent. (China’s increase came later than in India.)

Click here to read the full article

Written by: Tom Yulsman

Source: Discover Magazine

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