Energy Saving LEDs contributing to Light Pollution

Energy Saving LEDs contributing to Light Pollution

LED lights save power and offer better lighting but they are also leading to light pollution, as per a new research led by Christopher Kyba from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience. Households are shifting to LED lights as they offer more lumens for each watt of electricity they consume. The research report informed that artificially lit surface of Earth has been rising over the last few years. The research team estimates approximately 2.2 percent annual increase in the radiance of our planet can be attributed to artificial lighting.

The research team used VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite) and closely watched lighting on our planet between year 2012 and 2016. The VIIRS equipment has been mounted on NOAA satellite Suomi-NPP. The project started in October 2011.

Talking about increasing light pollution, Kyba added, "The increase in light emission closely corresponds to the increase of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with the fastest growth occuring in developing countries. What's more, we actually see only part of the light increase."

Photos taken from the International Space Station, which pick up all visible wavelengths, show cities shifting from yellow to blue in hue. The usage of CFL and LED lights has increased in the recent years.

The research team noted that light emission per capita in the United States is 3 to 5 times more than light emission in Germany.

"Usually when we think of how humanity messes with environment, it's a costly thing to fix or reverse," Kevin Gaston from the University of Exeter. Gaston was not involved with the current research project.

The study results have been published in the journal Science Advances.