A new study by researchers in Sweden has found that Christmas trees absorb methane, the second most important greenhouse gas next to carbon dioxide.
Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is more efficient in trapping radiation than CO2. But methane's life span in the atmosphere is shorter than CO2.
According to a report by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), over 60 percent of the global methane gas is emitted by human activities.
Natural gas and petroleum systems from industries, agriculture and household waste are some of the factors attributed to the generation of methane.
Until now, some trees including, Christmas trees, were suspected of emitting methane. Earlier studies have shown that the global emission of methane by plants ranged between 62 and 236 teragrams each year, reports Discovery News.
But a new study by researcher Elin Sundqvist and his colleagues from Lund University and Stockholm University, Sweden, conducted forest and laboratory measurements and found that trees have the ability to absorb methane.
The research team also analyzed the gases that are exchanged by tree branches of pine, spruce and birches among themselves under different conditions, the Discovery News report said.
"In contrast to earlier studies of CH4 (methane) exchange by plants, we find a net consumption by all plants studied both in situ and in the laboratory," the researchers write in the journal.
While earlier studies have cited reduction in burning of fossil fuels and availability of fewer microbes as the reasons behind reduced growth of methane levels, this new study concludes that the increase in vegetation has resulted in trees absorbing more methane.
The findings of the study are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
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