Fall Colors Explained Oct 18, 2017

Most of the country is enjoying very mild fall weather perfect for doing some leaf peeping this week.

Some locations across the country have already seen peak color change in the foliage but there is still plenty of color left to enjoy this year.

We witness leaves changing color each fall but what really happens to bring about the vibrant colors of the season?

Many people believe the colder temperatures of the fall season initiate the color change in the landscape, but; that isn’t the whole story.

Cooler temperatures and drier air do play a part in changing leaf color from green to red, yellow, purple, black, orange, pink, magenta, blue and brown, but the real reason behind the change in color is the declining sunlight hours through the season.

It’s the shortening days in autumn that are the trigger in the chromatic change but it’s chemistry that does the heavy lifting.

During spring and summer, while the leaves on trees are green the trees are an active chemistry lab, conducting reactions in photosynthesis.

During the photosynthesis process, plants will take in carbon dioxide from the air and use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose.

Plants use the glucose produced as a building block for growth and expels the oxygen. The chemical reaction of photosynthesis reduces carbon dioxide and produces oxygen and glucose that the plant needs, is made possible by the chemical chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the chemical that gives plants their green color and is actively present in leaves when photosynthesis is occurring.

As the days grow shorter, especially through late summer, fall, and winter there is not enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.

The plants during this time will begin shutting down the photosynthesis “operation” in preparation for winter and the “green” chlorophyll will disappear from the leaves.

Some of the colors we see as the leaves change, were actually present in the leaves during the summer months too. For example the reddish color of oak leaves in fall was there in summer, it was just overshadowed by the abundance of green chlorophyll.

Weather does play a part changing the colors that we enjoy each fall. Early frosts, rain, and prolonged cool temperatures can enhance or even dull the colors of the season. As we move further into fall enjoy the new colors of the season and also raking up those leaves after they plummet to the ground.

 

Meteorologist Mike Morrison

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweets

A look back at the Great Appalachian Storm of November 22-30,1950 which produced more than 5 feet of snow in some… https://t.co/2Ct3iRBHVq

1 hour ago by WeatherNation

#HIGHWATER: The Skagit River in Washington is reaching its highest levels in more than a decade. River flooding and… https://t.co/BLhcAMtAv1

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

BLACK FRIDAY FORECAST: Another quiet day across the country!🌞Look for more record highs in the central and southwes… https://t.co/bkynVgu3bi

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

🌪️TORNADO IN INDONESIA 🌪️ A scary sight Wednesday evening as a powerful twister damaged hundreds of homes and injur… https://t.co/mM6myXA06Q

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

Black Friday Rain for Florida this morning #WeatherNation #FLwx https://t.co/Yv9x6NpbfQ

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

Tummy full of #turkey? Why not take a long walk on the beach! Summer like temperatures made for a spectacular 👍Than… https://t.co/OWhACnv1EF

7 hours ago by WeatherNation

Record heat observed in many cities on Thanksgiving https://t.co/68Cf3ZcwKG https://t.co/CW5QvEAk5J

13 hours ago by WeatherNation

RT @SteveGlazier: Another fiery sunset across the #Denver area tonight! #COwx @WeatherNation https://t.co/yYgEpbK6SJ

16 hours ago by WeatherNation

Whoa! A #waterspout was caught on camera today off the coast of Florida. Good news is that the weather turns calmer… https://t.co/mVyL2yUeq4

18 hours ago by WeatherNation

Nearly six inches of rain already fell across parts of Florida! https://t.co/f0ihlxoSzj

18 hours ago by WeatherNation

Check out this stunning view from Portland, OR. https://t.co/pZ2scKevNu

18 hours ago by WeatherNation

#HappyThanksgiving from our afternoon team of meteorologists, directors, and producers here at @WeatherNation Have… https://t.co/1HMy8i3G6r

19 hours ago by WeatherNation

#HappyThanksgiving from our @WeatherNation Family to yours, we hope you're enjoying your special holiday with those… https://t.co/dyAmrGvyuK

20 hours ago by WeatherNation

It's all about dressing for the weather! Black Friday Forecast: https://t.co/BMOr8kXKcB

20 hours ago by WeatherNation

Throwback weather: a look at weather conditions on the first proclaimed Thanksgiving by President Abraham Lincoln i… https://t.co/yyWx1YAvV6

23 November by WeatherNation

HEADS UP FLORIDA! #Waterspouts and strong wind gusts are possible with heavy rain all day. Stay inside and stay dry. https://t.co/XamMQvog8y

23 November by WeatherNation

For some, it's all about the 🦃#GobbleTillYouWobble. For others, it's a special vacation spot ⛷️🏂Tell us about the f… https://t.co/TnxBkM9FZb

23 November by WeatherNation
Follow Us