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Journal Article

Recovering the city street lighting fraction from skyglow measurements in a large-scale municipal dimming experiment


Barentine,  John C.
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Kundracik,  František
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Kocifaj,  Miroslav
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Sanders,  Jessie C.
External Organizations;

Esquerdo,  Gilbert A.
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Dalton,  Adam M.
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Foott,  Bettymaya
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Grauer,  Albert
External Organizations;

Tucker,  Scott
External Organizations;


Kyba,  C.
1.4 Remote Sensing, 1.0 Geodesy, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

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Barentine, J. C., Kundracik, F., Kocifaj, M., Sanders, J. C., Esquerdo, G. A., Dalton, A. M., Foott, B., Grauer, A., Tucker, S., Kyba, C. (2020): Recovering the city street lighting fraction from skyglow measurements in a large-scale municipal dimming experiment. - Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 253, 107120.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5002292
Anthropogenic skyglow dominates views of the natural night sky in most urban settings, and the associated emission of artificial light at night (ALAN) into the environment of cities involves a number of known and suspected negative externalities. One approach to lowering consumption of ALAN in cities is dimming or extinguishing publicly owned outdoor lighting during overnight hours; however, there are few reports in the literature about the efficacy of these programs. Here we report the results of one of the largest municipal lighting dimming experiments to date, involving ~ 20,000 roadway luminaires owned and operated by the City of Tucson, Arizona, U.S. We analyzed both single-channel and spatially resolved ground-based measurements of broadband night sky radiance obtained during the tests, determining that the zenith sky brightness during the tests decreased by ()% near the city center and ()% at an adjacent suburban location on nights when the output of the street lighting system was dimmed from 90% of its full power draw to 30% after local midnight. Modeling these changes with a radiative transfer code yields results suggesting that street lights account for about (14 ± 1)% of light emissions resulting in skyglow seen over the city. A separate derivation from first principles implies that street lighting contributes only % of light seen at the zenith over Tucson. We discuss this inconsistency and suggest routes for future work.