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Spatial characterization of electrical power consumption patterns over India using temporal DMSP-OLS night-time satellite data

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Changes in electric power consumption patterns of a country over a period of time reflect on its socio-economic development and energy utilization processes. In the present study, we characterized spatial and temporal changes in electric power consumption patterns over India during 1993 to 2002, using 'night-time lights' data given by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Line Scan System (DMSP-OLS) over the Indian region. The OLS operates in two bands: visible (0.5-0.9 µm) and thermal (10.5-12.5 µm) and has a unique capability of picking up faint sources of visible-near infrared emissions (lights) at night on the Earth's surface including cities, towns and villages with a DN value ranging from 1 to 63. Night-time light images for cloud-free dates given by the DMSP-OLS from 1993 to 2002 were segregated into respective years and were integrated to generate one 'Stable light image' per year. Changes in light scenarios over the Indian region in the decadal time frame were studied using stable lights datasets from 1993 to 2002. Information on changes in the light scenarios was integrated with demographic data to characterize developments in major cities and states of India. Results of the study suggested an increase in population by 170 million and power consumption from 44962 million kWh to 306355 million kWh over the country during 1993-2002, which was associated with an overall increase in number of night-time lights of up to 26% in all states, indicating development in electric power consumption patterns. Correlation analysis between increase in population to the increase in night-time lights and electric power consumption showed a coefficient of determination, R 2, of 0.59 and 0.56 respectively. Increase in light intensities along the peripheries of major Indian cities was observed, which indicated increased stress on the cities and corresponding development in power consumption patterns during the decadal time frame. Certain states, however, showed a decrease in night-time lights in some areas, which are primarily attributed to the decreased economic growth trend and poverty and accounted to the scatter observed in the correlation analysis. Results are discussed in the paper.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Atmospheric Science Section, National Remote Sensing Agency, Department of Space, Government of India, Balanagar, Hyderabad-500 037, India 2: NOAA-NESDIS National Geophysical Data Centre E/GC2, Boulder, CO 80305, USA 3: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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