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
ALERT: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania until 11 o'clock eastern toni… https://t.co/ypXJ2xiTutjust now by WeatherNation
HAPPENING NOW - Flash Flood Warnings continue across Oklahoma through the afternoon with rain reports from today ne… https://t.co/n5fAlLQkUf1 hour ago by WeatherNation
RT @NWSNorman: 12:50 PM - flash flood threat increasing across the OKC metro area. Please don't drive into areas where water covers the roa…2 hours ago by WeatherNation
We're tracking showers and storms across the nation... Find us live on TV or one of our apps for the latest:… https://t.co/ZnDEbC96di4 hours ago by WeatherNation
TO THE RESCUE - Our cameras were there as soldiers continue to help supply water and aid to those in need after the… https://t.co/aAhbqz2HN66 hours ago by WeatherNation
Severe weather risk from Illinois to Maine today. If you live in the ORANGE are be extra aware, you have the highes… https://t.co/jRYxf3fOC86 hours ago by WeatherNation
It's the last day of summer! Using a gif, how do you feel about the return of fall? https://t.co/OmfsuKgiGr7 hours ago by WeatherNation
It's not just the Carolinas, flooding threats continue to rummage across the U.S. from the Upper Midwest to the sou… https://t.co/01Zkm7r2V68 hours ago by WeatherNation
ICYMI - Strong Storms ripped across the upper Midwest with reports of several tornadoes as well. Today, that same t… https://t.co/2rDXmdoVi09 hours ago by WeatherNation