Using NASA’s Black Marble Nighttime Lights Product to Map US CO2 Emissions

ESSIC scientist Zhuosen Wang is a co-author of a chapter in Urban Remote Sensing titled, “US Cities in the Dark: Mapping Man-Made Carbon Dioxide Emissions Over the Contiguous US Using NASA’s Black Marble Nighttime Lights Product”


Nighttime light (NTL) data are excellent indicators of human activity, and have been long used to map values associated with human activities, such as gross domestic production (GDP) and study spatial and temporal changes. Since 2012, an improved sensor, the Day/Night Band (DNB) low-light visible sensor of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP), has allowed for the retrieval of higher quality nighttime light data. In the chapter, the authors present the first man-made carbon dioxide emission map based on NASA’s Black Marble NTL Product Suite (NBM), which shows more accurate urban emission representation than ever before.


Wang is the chief architect of the Collection V006 MODIS BRDF/Albedo/NBAR algorithm and science PI of the NASA Black Marble nighttime light product. Wang co-leads the CEOS Land Product Validation (LPV) Subgroup Surface Radiation/Albedo Product Validation focus area. Wang’s areas of interest include monitoring energy services in human settlements using Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band, modeling and evaluation of land surface anisotropic characteristics and albedo, and estimating canopy structure using optical remote sensing and Lidar.


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