Into the Woods

Forest seen from above

Into the woods we go, Hansel, Gretel and… CO2?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

In the musical, the wicked witch was the baddie in the woods. As far as the planet goes, the baddie is greenhouse gases – or CO2. It’s a big contributor to climate change.

One way to slow this is by planting green trees. But how do we know if CO2 is actually decreasing, or just slowing down?

Jing Wang from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and team have answers. They reviewed NASA’s satellite pictures of the earth’s surface over seven years. They focused on Southwest and Northeast China, where roughly thirty-five percent of the land is all green. AND the green forest is growing by ten percent every year!

They then compared the CO2 in the air with the satellite picture. Combining the two gives a more accurate measurement. The results showed that where the forest is increasing, CO2 is decreasing by almost fifty percent every year!

Forget the cookie house…that’s a REAL treat! Happily ever after!

Reference: Wang, J., Feng, L., Palmer, P. I., Liu, Y., Fang, S., Bösch, H., O’Dell, C. W., Tang, X., Yang, D., Liu, L., & Xia, C. Z. (2020). Large Chinese land carbon sink estimated from atmospheric carbon dioxide data. Nature, 586(7831), 720–723.