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Elvidge, C. D., Erwin, E. H., Baugh, K. E., Ziskin, D., Tuttle, B. T., Ghosh, T., et al. (2009). Overview of DMSP nightime lights and future possibilities. In Joint Urban Remote Sensing Event. IEEE.
Abstract: The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) has a unique capability to collect low-light imaging data of the earth at night. The OLS and its predecessors have collected this style of data on a nightly global basis since 1972. The digital archive of OLS data extends back to 1992. Over the years several global nighttime lights products have been generated. NGDC has now produced a set of global cloud-free nighttime lights products, specifically processed for the detection of changes in lighting emitted by human settlements, spanning 1992-93 to 2008. While the OLS is far from ideal for observing nighttime lights, the DMSP nighttime lights products have been successfully used in modeling the spatial distribution of population density, carbon emissions, and economic activity.
Elvidge, C. D., Ziskin, D., Baugh, K. E., Tuttle, B. T., Ghosh, T., Pack, D. W., et al. (2009). A Fifteen Year Record of Global Natural Gas Flaring Derived from Satellite Data. Energies, 2(3), 595–622.
Abstract: We have produced annual estimates of national and global gas flaring and gas flaring efficiency from 1994 through 2008 using low light imaging data acquired by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). Gas flaring is a widely used practice for the disposal of associated gas in oil production and processing facilities where there is insufficient infrastructure for utilization of the gas (primarily methane). Improved utilization of the gas is key to reducing global carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The DMSP estimates of flared gas volume are based on a calibration developed with a pooled set of reported national gas flaring volumes and data from individual flares. Flaring efficiency was calculated as the volume of flared gas per barrel of crude oil produced. Global gas flaring has remained largely stable over the past fifteen years, in the range of 140 to 170 billion cubic meters (BCM). Global flaring efficiency was in the seven to eight cubic meters per barrel from 1994 to 2005 and declined to 5.6 m3 per barrel by 2008. The 2008 gas flaring estimate of 139 BCM represents 21% of the natural gas consumption of the USA with a potential retail market value of $68 billion. The 2008 flaring added more than 278 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) into the atmosphere. The DMSP estimated gas flaring volumes indicate that global gas flaring has declined by 19% since 2005, led by gas flaring reductions in Russia and Nigeria, the two countries with the highest gas flaring levels. The flaring efficiency of both Russia and Nigeria improved from 2005 to 2008, suggesting that the reductions in gas flaring are likely the result of either improved utilization of the gas, reinjection, or direct venting of gas into the atmosphere, although the effect of uncertainties in the satellite data cannot be ruled out. It is anticipated that the capability to estimate gas flaring volumes based on satell