Amid a sea of dire climate change news, researchers say they've found a rare bright spot.
A meadow of seagrass among Australia's Great Barrier Reef — estimated to be twice the size of New Jersey — is soaking up and storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming.
Scientists call this carbon-removal powerhouse a "blue carbon sink." The term refers to an ocean or coastal ecosystem — including seagrasses, salt marshes and mangrove forests — that captures carbon compounds from the atmosphere, effectively removing carbon dioxide, a known greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
"These coastal Blue Carbon ecosystems can sequester or remove carbon from the atmosphere about four times the rate of terrestrial forests on land, and they store about 10 times more carbon in the system itself compared to forest on land," says Jennifer Howard, director of marine climate change at Conservation International, in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin.