Pond pines amid the conversion of a ghost forest to saltwater march on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in North Carolina, July 22, 2019(Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)

Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees — often bleached, sometimes blackened — known as ghost forests.

The water is gaining as much as 5 millimeters per year in some places, well above the global average of 3.1 millimeters, driven by profound environmental shifts that include climate change.

Increasingly powerful storms, a consequence of a warming world, push seawater inland. More intense dry spells reduce freshwater flowing outward. Adding to the peril, in some places the land is naturally sinking.

All of this allows seawater to claim new territory, killing trees from the roots

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