Is climate change changing fall?

Is climate change changing fall?

Greetings again from October country, where the leaves are starting to change color on the trees. The timing  of peak color  varies from year to year, but the average for  Chicago area is mid to late October.

What makes vibrant fall  leaf color?  Warm sunny days and crisp, cool nights. You can read more about the leaves changing color here.

The dazzling  leaf colors we associate with fall may not be so bright in the future, according to ThinkProgress.  In the northeast, the drought they experienced this summer will affect  the colors of the leaves this year.

And, there are not so  many  crisp, cool nights below 40 degrees, according to Wxshift.  The first frost comes later, too. The growing season is 15 days  longer than  100 years ago.

The longer growing season means a longer season for insect pests as well.  A  warmer  climate  is more favorable to  mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus, dengue fever and Zika.  A warmer winter will not kill their larva or the larva of such invasive species as the emerald ash borer.

This time of year is also hurricane season.  The warmer ocean water can contribute to more intense storms with stronger winds and  torrential rains. Think of the impact of  hurricane Matthew and Super typhoon Haima—now heading for the Philippines.

The effects of  changing climate can be subtle as a falling leaf--and  wild as the latest  1000 year rain.


Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: climate, fall


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  • This is like the reverse of the story about the butterfly's flapping wings leading to a storm. The leaves seem like the small evidence in the other direction.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Yes, both examples of how things are connected. Thanks for reading!

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