Artificial light alters natural regimes of night-time sky brightness

Thomas W. Davies, Jonathan Bennie, Richard Inger, Kevin J. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Artificial light is globally one of the most widely distributed forms of anthropogenic pollution. However, while both the nature and ecological effects of direct artificial lighting are increasingly well documented, those of artificial sky glow have received little attention. We investigated how city lights alter natural regimes of lunar sky brightness using a novel ten month time series of measurements recorded across a gradient of increasing light pollution. In the city, artificial lights increased sky brightness to levels six times above those recorded in rural locations, nine and twenty kilometers away. Artificial lighting masked natural monthly and seasonal regimes of lunar sky brightness in the city, and increased the number and annual regime of full moon equivalent hours available to organisms during the night. The changes have potentially profound ecological consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1722
JournalScientific Reports
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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