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Schuler, L. D., Schatz, R., & Berweger, C. D. (2018). From global radiance to an increased local political awareness of light pollution. Environmental Science & Policy, 89, 142–152.
Abstract: We present a novel transparent method to analyze measurements of the Suomi NPP (Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite in night vision, into luminous intensity and luminance on the community level, with a special focus to address light planners and non-experts, and for the first time, to further address politicians, decision-makers and law-makers, and governmental agencies. We checked the propagated efficiency of road lighting and its impact on luminous flux, and identified a waste of light emissions in the largest city of Switzerland, Zurich. We looked at security (issues like criminal acts) and found no correlation with communities’ luminous intensity. We assessed road safety (accidents) against local luminance and found no evidence of darkness being more risky when the overall distribution of illuminance on roads is considered. We screened crayfish habitats in the Canton of Zurich against local illuminance and found clear evidence of preferred darkness for the living. Based on this finding, we propose an upper limit for light immissions in the crayfish habitats. These four analyses have been chosen to demonstrate the usefulness of Suomi NPP's coverage in combination with our approach. We could apply it to ecological, social and economical topics. We hope others will follow and we can draw more attention of governments to take action to reduce the light pollution on local levels, like Langnau am Albis of Switzerland has exemplified.