Sunday, 17 January 2016

#Light#Pollution and Consequences

Energy waste Lighting is responsible for one-fourth of all electricity consumption worldwide, and case studies have shown that several forms of over-illumination constitute energy wastage, including non-beneficial upward direction of night-time lighting. Thousand million kWh in electricity consumption can be saved by delaying need for artificial lighting during the evenings. 
... public lighting is the single largest source of local government's greenhouse gas emissions, typically accounting for 30 to 50% of their emissions. 
Current public lighting in all countries , particularly for minor roads and streets, uses large amounts of energy and financial resources, while often failing to provide high quality lighting. There are many ways to improve lighting quality while reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as well as lowering costs. 
Effects on animal and human health and psychology. Health effects of over-illumination or improper spectral composition of light may include: increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety. Likewise, animal models have been studied demonstrating unavoidable light to produce adverse effect on mood and anxiety. For those who need to be awake at night, light at night also has an acute effect on alertness and mood. Multiple studies have documented a correlation between night shift work and the increased incidence of breast and prostate cancer.
A more recent discussion "Blinded by the Light?"., "Human health implications of light pollution" states that "... light intrusion, even if dim, is likely to have measurable effects on sleep disruption and melatonin suppression. Even if these effects are relatively small from night to night, continuous chronic circadian, sleep and hormonal disruption may have longer-term health risks.
Disruption of ecosystems When artificial light affects organisms and ecosystems it is called ecological light pollution. While light at night can be beneficial, neutral, or damaging for individual species, its presence invariably disturbs ecosystems. For example, some species of spiders avoid lit areas, while other species are happy to build their spider web directly on a lamp post. Since lamp posts attract many flying insects, the spiders that don't mind light gain an advantage over the spiders that avoid it. This is a simple example of the way in which species frequencies and food webs can be disturbed by the introduction of light at night.
Light pollution poses a serious threat in particular to nocturnal wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. It can confuse animal navigation, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations, and cause physiological harm. The rhythm of life is orchestrated by the natural diurnal patterns of light and dark, so disruption to these patterns impacts the ecological dynamics.
Studies suggest that light pollution around lakes prevents zooplankton, such as Daphnia, from eating surface algae, causing algal blooms that can kill off the lakes' plants and lower water quality. Night-blooming flowers that depend on moths for pollination may be affected by night lighting, as there is no replacement pollinator that would not be affected by the artificial light. This can lead to species decline of plants that are unable to reproduce, and change an area's long term ecology.
Unnatural polarized light sources can trigger maladaptive behaviors in polarization-sensitive taxa and alter ecological interactions.
Lights on tall structures can disorient migrating birds. Estimates by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the number of birds killed after being attracted to tall towers range from 4 to 5 million per year to an order of magnitude higher. Similar disorientation has also been noted for bird species migrating close to offshore production and drilling facilities.Sea turtle hatchlings emerging from nests on beaches are another casualty of light pollution. It is a common misconception that hatchling sea turtles are attracted to the moon. Rather, they find the ocean by moving away from the dark silhouette of dunes and their vegetation, a behavior with which artificial lights interfere. The breeding activity and reproductive phenology of toads, however, are cued by moonlight. Juvenile seabirds may also be disoriented by lights as they leave their nests and fly out to sea.Amphibians and reptiles are also affected by light pollution. Introduced light sources during normally dark periods can disrupt levels of melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates photoperiodic physiology and behaviour. Some species of frogs and salamanders utilize a light-dependent "compass" to orient their migratory behaviour to breeding sites. Introduced light can also cause developmental irregularities, such as retinal damage, reduced sperm production, and genetic mutation.
Effect on astronomy Astronomy is very sensitive to light pollution. The night sky viewed from a city bears no resemblance to what can be seen from dark skies. Sky glow (the scattering of light in the atmosphere) reduces the contrast between stars and galaxies and the sky itself, making it much harder to see fainter objects. This is one factor that has caused newer telescopes to be built in increasingly remote areas. Some astronomers use narrow-band "nebula filters" which only allow specific wavelengths of light commonly seen in nebulae, or broad-band "light pollution filters" which are designed to reduce (but not eliminate) the effects of light pollution by filtering out spectral lines commonly emitted by sodium- and mercury-vapor lamps, thus enhancing contrast and improving the view of dim objects such as galaxies and nebulae. Unfortunately these light pollution reduction (LPR) filters are not a cure for light pollution. LPR filters reduce the brightness of the object under study and this limits the use of higher magnifications. LPR filters work by blocking light of certain wavelengths, which alters the color of the object, often creating a pronounced green cast. Furthermore, LPR filters only work on certain object types (mainly emission nebulae) and are of little use on galaxies and stars. No filter can match the effectiveness of a dark sky for visual or photographic purposes. Due to their low surface brightness, the visibility of diffuse sky objects such as nebulae and galaxies is affected by light pollution more than are stars. Most such objects are rendered invisible in heavily light polluted skies around major cities. A simple method for estimating the darkness of a location is to look for the Milky Way, which from truly dark skies appears bright enough to cast a shadow.
In addition to sky glow, light trespass can impact observations when artificial light directly enters the tube of the telescope and is reflected from non-optical surfaces until it eventually reaches the eyepiece. This direct form of light pollution causes a glow across the field of view which reduces contrast. Light trespass also makes it hard for a visual observer to become sufficiently dark adapted. The usual measures to reduce this glare, if reducing the light directly is not an option, include flocking the telescope tube and accessories to reduce reflection, and putting a light shield (also usable as a dew shield) on the telescope to reduce light entering from angles other than those near the target. Under these conditions, some astronomers prefer to observe under a black cloth to ensure maximum dark adaptation.
Increase in atmospheric pollution A study found that light pollution destroys nitrate radicals thus preventing the normal night time reduction of atmospheric smog produced by fumes emitted from cars and factories. The study was presented by Harald Stark from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Reduction of natural sky polarization
Light pollution is mostly unpolarized, and its addition to moonlight results in a decreased polarization signal.
In the night, the polarization of the moonlit sky is very strongly reduced in the presence of urban light pollution, because scattered urban light is not strongly polarized. Polarized moonlight can't be seen by humans, but is believed to be used by many animals for navigation.
Light pollution and its Types
Light pollution wastes money and energy
Light pollution and its Effects

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