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Trends in night-time city lights and vegetation indices associated with urbanization within the conterminous USA

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Two datasets that depict the night-time light emitted from the conterminous USA during 1992/1993 and 2000 were compared for changes in light emission. The locations of observed differences in night-time light during this interval were examined for differences observed in a time-integrated vegetation index associated with net primary production. Just over 13% of the land area within the study region exhibited greater night-time light emitted in 2000 compared to 1992/1993. The locations of greater emitted light were found to have decreased values of the time-integrated vegetation index compared to locations that did not exhibit significant increases in emitted light. The observed decrease in the time-integrated vegetation index within the regions of greater emitted light is likely to be due to the change in land cover (increased urbanization) during this interval. The results suggest that the emitted light data were more useful for assessment of urban growth than the integrated vegetation index data.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications Camp Springs Maryland 20746 USA 2: NOAA National Geophysical Data Center Boulder Colorado 80303 USA 3: SAIC/EROS Data Center Sioux Falls South Dakota 57198 USA

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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