The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
In a recent video filmed in Sacre-Coeur, Quebec, Mother Nature appears to be gasping for air. Even the surrounding trees are struggling to stand under the literal force of nature.
Is Earth breathing a collective sigh? To be fair, she's had a pretty rough 2018 after a string of record-breaking hurricanes, destructive wildfires and a dire warning from scientists about catastrophic climate change.
Actually it's not that dramatic at all, and it happens all the time, like in this 2015 video that was shot in Nova Scotia.
breathing earth www.youtube.com
The spectacle can be easily explained by inclement weather.
"During a rain- and wind-storm event, the ground becomes saturated, 'loosening' the soil's cohesion with the roots as the wind is blowing on a tree's crown," Mark Vanderwouw, an arborist at Shady Lane Expert Tree Care in Ontario, told The Weather Network.
"The wind is trying to 'push' the trees over, and as the force is transferred to the roots, the ground begins to 'heave.' If the winds were strong enough and lasted long enough more roots would start to break and eventually some of the trees would topple," he added.
Simply, the strong winds are moving the trees and causing the root system to lift the forest floor, making it look like the earth is breathing.
Don't be too disappointed that the earth isn't actually huffing and puffing. You might remember from biology class that trees and plants do actually respire when they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis.
Also, the bacteria and other organisms that live in soils respire, too. Interestingly, a study published in August in the journal Nature determined that as temperatures rise, Earth's soil is also "breathing" more heavily.
"Soils around the globe are responding to a warming climate, which in turn can convert more carbon into carbon dioxide which enters the atmosphere. Depending on how other components of the carbon cycle might respond due to climate warming, these soil changes can potentially contribute to even higher temperatures due to a feedback loop," said lead author Ben Bond-Lamberty of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, in a press release of the study.
- Video: A Look At The Breathing Earth : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture ... ›
- Watch 20 years of the Earth breathing in five minutes | Cosmos ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Andrea Rodgers, second from the right, takes notes during a hearing in the Juliana v. U.S. case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon on June 4. Colleague Elizabeth Brown sits to her left, while colleague Julia Olson sits on her right, with co-council Philip Gregory on Julia's right. Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust
By Fran Korten
On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.
70 Arrested at Extinction Rebellion Protest Demanding More Urgent Climate Coverage From New York Times
By Irene Banos Ruiz
Alarming headlines regarding the climate crisis often overshadow positive actions taken by citizens around the world, but that doesn't mean they're not happening.
They are, and sometimes with considerable success. DW looks at some civil society victories.
Oregon republicans fled their state rather than do anything to stop the climate crisis. The state republicans abrogated their duties as elected officials and ran away since they don't have the votes to stop a landmark bill that would make Oregon the second state to adopt a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as Vice News reported.