(NPR) — Rising sea levels along the Mid-Atlantic coast cause saltwater to move into forested areas it hadn't reached before.
Unable to drink in water with such high salt content, the trees are starved –– creating ghost forests.
A photographer uses watercolors sensitized to light to make ethereal images of dying trees on the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. As sea levels rise, these haunting sights will only continue to grow.
The ghostly forests of dead trees along the Mid-Atlantic shores are one indicator of a changing climate. Rising sea levels, brought on, in part, by glacial melt, cause saltwater to move into forested areas where it hadn't reached before. The trees aren't able to drink in water with such high salt content and are starved of necessary nutrients.
In the Chesapeake Bay, over 150 square miles of forests have died since the mid-1800s because of salt intrusion, according to a recent article in Nature Climate Change. It's not a new phenomenon, but it is one that scientists are recognizing the importance of now. These ghost forests will continue to grow as the sea level is expected to increase another 1.3 feet to 3.9 feet by 2100.