Trees Near Seawater Contribute Methane to the Atmosphere

Episode Summary

While trees are known to absorb greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, PNNL researchers have found that under certain circumstances, trees actually contribute the more powerful greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere. It can happen when seawater floods nearby forests; the flooding acts like a switch, causing release of methane from soil and trees. In some cases, enough fuel is bound within a tree’s tissues that it can, when manually released, sustain a flame. Coastal scientist Nick Ward discusses the work he’s presenting at the Earth science conference AGU 2020 and how his colleagues expect the process to become more important as sea levels rise, causing more coastal forests to flood.

Episode Notes

Check out more on AGU 2020 here:

Here's a link to Nick's work on YouTube: