- Global light pollution has increased by at least 49% over the past 25 years.
- Increases in light pollution were most pronounced in Asia, South America, Oceania and Africa.
- Light pollution, from streetlights and other sources, can have major impacts on the natural environment.
Earth’s night sky really isn’t as dark as it used to be.
In fact, according to a new study, global light pollution has increased by at least 49% over the past 25 years.
“The global spread of artificial light is eroding the natural night-time environment,” said study lead author Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel of the University of Exeter in the U.K.
“This study provides clear evidence not only of how bad light pollution has become as a global problem, but also that it is continuing to get worse, and probably at a faster and faster rate,” he added, in a statement.
The study found increases in light pollution were most pronounced in Asia, South America, Oceania and Africa.
It also details what it calls the “hidden impact” of the transition to solid-state, light emitting diode (LED) technology.
LEDs emit more blue light than previous lamp technologies, the study said, but satellite sensors are “blind” to this blue light and so underestimate the level of light pollution. Correcting for this, the study authors say the actual increase in the power emitted by outdoor lighting, and thus of light pollution, may be as high as a whopping 270%.
This is likely the case in Europe and North America, where satellites appear…