Worldwide variations in artificial skyglow

Abstract

Despite constituting a widespread and significant environmental change, understanding of artificial nighttime skyglow is extremely limited. Until now, published monitoring studies have been local or regional in scope, and typically of short duration. In this first major international compilation of monitoring data we answer several key questions about skyglow properties. Skyglow is observed to vary over four orders of magnitude, a range hundreds of times larger than was the case before artificial light. Nearly all of the study sites were polluted by artificial light. A non-linear relationship is observed between the sky brightness on clear and overcast nights, with a change in behavior near the rural to urban landuse transition. Overcast skies ranged from a third darker to almost 18 times brighter than clear. Clear sky radiances estimated by the World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness were found to be overestimated by ~25%; our dataset will play an important role in the calibration and ground truthing of future skyglow models. Most of the brightly lit sites darkened as the night progressed, typically by ~5% per hour. The great variation in skyglow radiance observed from site-to-site and with changing meteorological conditions underlines the need for a long-term international monitoring program.

DOI: 10.1038/srep08409
02040201520162017
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@inproceedings{Kyba2015WorldwideVI, title={Worldwide variations in artificial skyglow}, author={Christopher C. M. Kyba and Kai Pong Tong and Jonathan Bennie and Ignacio Birriel and Jennifer J. Birriel and Andrew Cool and Arne Danielsen and Thomas W. Davies and Peter den Outer and William Edwards and Rainer Ehlert and Fabio Falchi and J{\"{u}rgen Fischer and Andrea Giacomelli and Francesco Giubbilini and Marty Haaima and Claudia Hesse and Georg Heygster and Franz H{\"{o}lker and Richard Inger and Linsey J. Jensen and Helga Kuechly and John L Kuehn and Phil P. Langill and Dorien Lolkema and Matthew R Nagy and Miguel Nievas and Nobuaki Ochi and Emil Popow and Thomas Posch and Johannes Puschnig and Thomas Ruhtz and Wim Schmidt and Robert Schwarz and Axel D. Schwope and Henk Spoelstra and Anthony Tekatch and Mark H Trueblood and Constance E. Walker and M. Weber and Douglas L. Welch and Jaime Zamorano and Kevin J. Gaston}, booktitle={Scientific reports}, year={2015} }