City Lights of Europe

City Lights of Europe

Growth in "mega-cities" is altering the landscape and the atmosphere in such a way as to curtail normal photosynthesis. By using data from The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System, researchers have been able to look at urban sprawl by monitoring the emission of light from cities at night. By overlaying these "light maps" onto other data such as soil and vegetation maps, the research shows that urbanization can have a variable but measurable impact on photosynthetic productivity.

For more information, read Bright Lights, Big City

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 540x405
  • JPEG
  • 1024x768
  • GIF 380 KB


  • Visualization Date:

    December 5, 2000
  • Sensor(s):

    DMSP - OLS


NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration