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Ghost Forests Are Our Clues to Climate Warming

Updated on March 31, 2020

Ghost Forests and Why They Happen

Ghost Forest
Ghost Forest
Ghost Forest, Robbins, Maryland
Ghost Forest, Robbins, Maryland | Source

Why are Ghost Forests Accelerating?

Scientists concur that ghost forests are becoming the norm. Looking at the remains of these trees is an eerie sight. Ghostly in their appearance, leaving us to wonder what happened. The main consensus is that the cause is climate change—the result of rising seawater bringing saltwater inland. The trees cannot live within seawater.

So, what exactly is a ghost forest? It is the watery remains of an ancient woodland poisoned by saltwater and brought about by climate change, tectonic activity, and tsunamis. It isn't climate change alone. Hurricanes, tsunamis are as destructive, bringing saltwater inland. The environmental changes are real and happening every day.

All along the eastern coast of North America, land that was once dry, usable for the building, is now a ghost forest. In the past 100 years, 100,000 acres of forest in the Chesapeake Bay have turned into marshland. And, its happening four times faster than in the 1930s. All along our coastlines, from Florida as far north as New Jersey, one can easily see these ghostly forests.

Along the western coast, the Neskowin Ghost Forest has become visible after the winter storm of 1997-98. The storm unearthed the remnants of an old ghost forest. The trees exposed were analyzed and found to be 2000 years old, standing 150-200 feet tall.

The building isn't slowing down along our coasts. Yet with sea levels rising, it seems there is little concern or planning for the problems of coastal living.

Neskowin Ghost Forest, Oregon

Neskowin, Oregon
Neskowin, Oregon | Source

Copallis River Ghost Forest

Near the Washington coast, this area was studied by Dr. Brian F. Atwater and David Yamaguchi. Earlier beliefs were that the trees died slowly as the sea levels submerged the roots. But scientific analysis revealed the tree rings dated to the year 1699. They then concluded that the 1700 Alaskan earthquake caused the earth to drop, saltwater rushing in to cover the tree roots, causing them to die.

Copalis River Ghost Forest

Copalis River Ghost Forest
Copalis River Ghost Forest

South Carolina Barrier Islands

South Carolina Barrier Islands
South Carolina Barrier Islands

Great Reads For Climate Change and Learning

One book,

This book is written by Gilbert M. Gaul. He has won two Pulitizer Prizer prizes for his investigative works. And, in addition, won the Nieman Fellow from Harvard and, the Ferris Fellow from Princeton. The book is easy to follow and gives excellent information on why ghost forests are accelerating.


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