With the growing size and use of night lights time series from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Day/Night Band (DNB), it is important to understand the stability of the dataset. All satellites observe differences in pixel values during repeat observations. In the case of night lights data, these changes can be due to both environmental effects and changes in light emission. Here we examine the stability of individual locations of particular large scale light sources (e.g. airports, prisons) in the monthly composites of DNB data from April 2012 to September 2017. The radiances for individual pixels of most large light emitters are approximately normally distributed, with a standard deviation of typically 15-20% of the mean. We observe geospatial autocorrelation in the monthly variations for nearby sites, while the correlation for sites separated by large distances is small. This suggests that local factors contribute most to the variation in the pixel radiances, and furthermore that averaging radiances over large areas will reduce the total variation. A better understanding of the causes of temporal variation would improve the sensitivity of DNB to lighting changes.
Artificial Light at Night; Light Pollution; Night Lights; VIIRS DNB
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