Environmental Impacts of Artificial Light at Night

Environmental Impacts of Artificial Light at Night Kevin J. Gaston and Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel Annual Review of Environment and Resources 2022 47:1

Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Vol. 47:- (Volume publication date October 2022)
Review in Advance first posted online on June 15, 2022. (Changes may still occur before final publication.)


The nighttime is undergoing unprecedented change across much of the world, with natural light cycles altered by the introduction of artificial light emissions. Here we review the extent and dynamics of artificial light at night (ALAN), the benefits that ALAN provides, the environmental costs ALAN creates, approaches to mitigating these negative effects, and how costs are likely to change in the future. We particularly highlight the consequences of the increasingly widespread use of light-emitting diode (LED) technology for new lighting installations and to retrofit pre-existing ones. Although this has been characterized as a technological lighting revolution, it also constitutes a revolution in the environmental costs and impacts of ALAN, particularly because the LEDs commonly used for outdoor lighting have significant emissions at the blue wavelengths to which many biological responses are particularly sensitive. It is clear that a very different approach to the use of artificial lighting is required.


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