Pat Shingleton: "Night-Lights"
When your wipers are on, your lights should also be lit. Tuesday's lunchtime thunderstorms unloaded more than three inches of rain on Sherwood Forest Blvd., activating a flood warning. Lunch hour traffic was stopped as many "smart" motorists diverted to adjacent lots and medians. Referencing car-lights, many years ago on warm summer nights we would "sleep out" on the front porch of our home. Unable to "drift off'," we found ourselves identifying the make and model of vehicles with sometimes only a headlight clue. Geophysical Research Letters reports that counting nighttime lights assists in understanding the vulnerability of flooding. Researchers have reviewed satellite images to observe global nighttime lights with the understanding that this type of illumination identifies population levels. Scientists determined that the amount of nighttime lights along rivers around the world increased by an average of 1.2% between 1992 and 2012. The increase in lights correlated to an increase in economic damage caused by floods. Night lights in flood-risk areas spiked the most over the 20-year period in Africa, Asia and South America with the Nile River delta depicting an increase in lights of 6.4% per year. It is believed that this study could further identify areas of greater flooding risk in the future. For home delivery of Pat's column go to www.patshingleton.com.