The autumn season brings many changes, but none are more spectacular than this: Billions of leaves will turn from green to auburn and gold. Because the color change is more dependent on light than temperature, it takes place at basically the same time year after year, according to the US National Arboretum.
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Temperature and weather conditions, though, can impact the intensity of fall colors and how long they linger. They can also subtly affect the timing of when the leaves start to change. And drought can change the rate at which the leaves turn.
The website SmokyMountains. You can slide the bar at the bottom of the map to see how the peak foliage spreads out across the country over the coming weeks. Use it to figure out the right time to do some leaf-peeping in your area or on a weekend trip.
The map pulls historical data and seasonal forecast predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and makes a best guess about peak timing. So the predictions may not be percent accurate. When the chlorophyll disappears from the leaves, the National Arboretum explains , other chemicals persist and show their colors:. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both then become visible when the green chlorophyll is gone.
These colors are present in the leaf throughout the growing season. Red and purple pigments come from anthocyanins. In the fall anthocyanins are manufactured from the sugars that are trapped in the leaf.
Why do leaves change color and turn red?
In most plants anthocyanins are typically not present during the growing season. Different trees will reveal different colors , as the US Forest Service describes on its website. In , most of the country hit the peak or was past that point by early October. That's not expected to be the case this year.
Fall Foliage Map & Nationwide Peak Leaf Forecast
Similar to the SmokyMountains. With our unique blend of historical and forecast data, we are able to make a highly accurate prediction by the end of August. The forecast is similar to last year for most regions, though, that's not necessarily the norm for all regions. Here is the version of our early-October normally Oct. This is taken on Hanson Lake by the Presque Isle airport.
In the next century, satellites will watch as the ocean's blues and greens intensify.
How is the foliage coming in by your neck of the woods? Though, wherever you may be, it's time to start planning a weekend full of staring at trees while munching on apple cider donuts.
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