- seasonal variations in vegetation and snow cover ;
- atmospheric parameters such as aerosol content ;
- shift in the ground footprint of pixels and/or differing pixels used in building monthly or annual composites ;
- changes in the sensitivity or errors in calibration of the imaging sensor ;
- the presence or absence of temporary (e.g., seasonal) lighting ;
2.1. Selection of Sites
- Downtowns One site was selected from each of the most populous cities in each of the 50 US states (based on US Census data from 2010 ). The DNB imagery was examined together with Google Maps imagery to identify an urban area where the DNB data was relatively smooth (i.e., not a “hot spot”).
- Suburbs Similar to downtown, except that a suburban (mainly residential) location was chosen.
- Stadium The 20 largest stadiums by capacity used by the National Football League (as reported in Wikipedia) were selected, as were the 5 largest sports stadiums in Canada .
- Bridges The longest 21 bridges in the USA, the 3 longest bridges in Canada, and the Ambassador bridge crossing between the two countries were selected (as reported in Wikipedia’s “list of longest bridges”). The location to analyze was set at the midpoint of each bridge’s span.
- Prisons Maximum security prisons were examined in order of prison populations , and 25 prisons that are well separated from other light sources in the DNB data were selected.
- Wilderness areas The 20 largest wilderness areas in the USA  were selected, and a point was placed at the geometric center of the wilderness area. As these areas were all in the American West and Alaska, 5 points in the largest wilderness areas in the eastern USA were also selected.
- Greenhouses Greenhouses were identified by searching for extraordinarily bright areas well separated from urban areas in the DNB data and by examining what buildings were present in Google Maps imagery. Large greenhouses typically appear as rectangular buildings or groups of buildings with transparent roofs. Greenhouses are among the brightest of all objects visible in the DNB data, with observed radiances often in the thousands of nW/cmsr (Figure 2).
2.2. Night Light Data
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Stability of Lighting Classes
3.2. Temporal Correlations at Geographically Separated Sites
3.3. Stability of Gas Flaring
3.4. Seasonal Changes
3.5. Understanding DNB Time Series
Conflicts of Interest
|ASCII||American Standard Code for Information Interchange|
|c||class (e.g., airport or suburb)|
|DNB||Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Day/Night Band|
|Radiance observed at a site by the DNB in nW/cmsr|
|Median radiance at a given site|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|Relative monthly radiance|
|15.9–84.1 percentile range of the relative monthly radiance for all sites in a given class|
|15.9–84.1 percentile range of the monthly radiance in nW/cmsr for a single site|
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|Land Use Class||Number of Sites||Notes|
|Downtown||50||Largest city in each US state|
|Suburb||50||Largest city in each US state|
|Airport||25||20 busiest USA, 5 largest Canada|
|Ship port||25||21 busiest USA, 4 busiest Canada|
|Stadium||25||20 largest NFL stadiums, 5 largest stadiums Canada|
|Power plant||25||10 largest kWh USA, 10 max capacity nuclear USA, 5 largest Canada|
|Bridge||25||21 longest bridges USA, 3 longest bridges Canada, Ambassador Bridge|
|Prison||25||Bright high capacity maximum security prisons, USA|
|Flares||2585||Bakken oil flares (USA) |
|Wilderness Area||25||20 contiguous USA, 5 Alaska|
|Greenhouse||25||Identified based on the October 2016 DNB data|
|Location 1||Location 2||Approximate Distance|
|Atlanta, GA Suburb||Atlanta, GA Downtown||5 km|
|Atlanta, GA Suburb||Birmingham, AL Suburb||230 km|
|Atlanta, GA Suburb||Jackson, MS suburb||560 km|
|Atlanta, GA Suburb||Houston, TX suburb||1100 km|
|Atlanta, GA Suburb||Alburquerque, NM Suburb||2000 km|
|Alburquerque, NM Suburb||Alburquerque, NM Downtown||5 km|
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