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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-07-09 03:52 PM
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Light pollution becomes a polarizing issue
By Pete Spotts | 01.07.09

Light pollution increasingly is seen as a serious problem for wildlife, a point noted by colleague Eoin OCarroll in early December when he riffed on the topic over at The Bright Green Blog. Typically, this light pollution appears at night, when humans light up their world.

Now, it appears, its a 24-7 problem. In the January issue of the journal Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, a team led by Gabor Horvath a scientist at the Biooptics Laboratory at Eotvos University in Budapest, makes a plausible case that polarized light the kind of reflected light polarized sunglasses reduce has serious effects on creatures who use it but get bamboozled by polarized light reflecting off of engineered surfaces.

Indeed, according to the team, we introduce the term polarized light pollution as a new kind of ecological light pollution.

Yes, polarized light comes from natural sources such as sunlight reflected off of oceans, lakes, or rivers. A wide range of insects, animals, even fish have adapted themselves to use this polarized light.

But polarized light also reflects off of smooth, dark building materials like polished granite. It also glances off of black plastic sheets, a dark paint job on that 57 T-Bird or Prius, open ponds of oil or chemicals, and even light reflected off of asphalt roadways and polished black tombstones.

In effect, the unnatural polarized light from these and other human-made sources lead creatures big and small and the critters that eat them in fatal directions. They identify as safe habitats or breeding areas that are anything but. They mistake floating plastic for prey. Or their navigation systems go haywire as they try to migrate.

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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-07-09 04:08 PM
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