TRACKING DYNAMIC CHANGES AND MONITORING SOCIOECONOMIC PARAMETERS IN ALGERIA BETWEEN 1993 AND 2012, USING NIGHTTIME LIGHT REMOTE SENSING
Keywords: Nighttime light, Human settlement, Gas flaring, Light separation, Dynamic change, Socioeconomic parameters
Abstract. This paper is based on using DMSP-OLS data from satellites nighttime light observations to detect both sources of light emissions in Algeria from human settlement areas and gas flaring from oil-extraction and natural gas production. We used the time series of data from DMSP-OLS images to examine the spatial and temporal characteristics of urban development in 48 Algerian provinces from 1993 to 2012. A systematic nighttime light calibration method was used to improve the consistency and comparability of the DSMPOSL images and then a separation is made between light detected from human settlements and light detected from gas flaring in order to allow us to study human settlements without other light emissions and then assess the suitability of using DMSP data in southern Algeria and its ability to monitor gas flaring. Linear regression methods were developed to identify the dynamic change of nighttime light and estimated its growth directions at pixel level. This work is the first to use nighttime light observations to detect and monitor the growth of human settlements in North Africa. In this study, we made use of DMSP-OLS data as a return ticket to the years of crises and we found the most affected provinces during that period. The DMSP-OLS data proved to be an index of growth in the economy during the period of stability in Algeria expressed by positive dynamic changes in the lighted area in all Algerian provinces. We used NTL data as an alternative to annual growth indexes for each province, which are unavailable, and its help as a monitoring system for socioeconomic parameters to fill the gap of data availability. We also proposed nighttime light remote sensing data as a useful tool to control and reduce CO2 emissions in Algeria’s petroleum sector.