News Stories

Trees Can Pollute

One problem with the Kyoto Treaty is that many countries plan to reduce global warming by planting more carbon-dioxide absorbing trees. However, when the weather is hot, trees spew out more pollution than they suck up.

Researcher Alastair Lewis discovered that in hot weather, trees gives off chemicals that lead to the production of ozone. "This phenomenon has been seen before in California and the Mediterranean but, of course, we hardly ever get temperatures like that in the U.K. and northern Europe," Lewis says. "Last summer, of course, we had very high temperatures and in the future extreme heatwaves are expected to be more frequent." The increased levels of the chemicals isoprene and terpene led to 30% higher ozone levels at the height of the heatwave in the U.K. Ozone is dangerous for children, the elderly and asthmatics.

How tall can a tree grow? The tallest tree is about 426 feet high, because that's the limit to which a tree can raise water from the ground up to the top. Jonathan Amos writes in bbcnews.com that California redwoods, which are the tallest trees on Earth and can live for more than 2,000 years, are so tall they can take some of their water out of the fog, so they don't need to soak it all up from the ground. George Koch, who has climbed five of the eight tallest trees in the world, says that despite this, the leaves at the top don't get enough water, so they aren't likely to grow much taller. "The leaves at the top, because they are water-stressed, are not doing as much photosynthesis per unit mass," he says. "In essence, the plant is investing a certain amount into those tissues but they're not providing as much return on that investment because of the water stress."

In order to reverse global warming we'll need more than brains?we'll need luck. Dr. Richard Wiseman has discovered the hidden principles behind luck, by using well-established scientific methods to test the difference between the lucky and the unlucky. Then he figured out how you can change yourself into a lucky person.

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