Wednesday, February 7

Lights = Warmth?

I wonder how much warmth all these lights create? Could it ? . . . No of course not. But, well if lights = warmth then this could mean that light pollution is playing a role in global warming, however small and unsexy it my be?

I am familiar with the concept of light pollution, in which the city lights make seeing difficult for people like air traffic controllers. But I didn't know that some people suspect that this type of mass electrification can be deadly. I also didn't know, until today, that Seattle has been able to put a halt on the net emissions caused by powering its city's lights.

Intrigued, I did some brief research and it looks like my theory doesn't quite stand up. The main effects of light pollution are:

Energy Waste
Interference with astronomical observations
(Negative) Effects on human health and psychology
Disruption of Ecosystems

That being the case, even if the lights don't directly contribute to global warming, I am nevertheless alarmed by the harmful phenomena and the relative obscurity of it. One organization that is working to raise awareness of these issues is the National Dark Sky Week.