Sunday, September 25, 2016

How Climate Change Is Screwing Up Your Favorite Season

Fall trees  (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to enlarge.
Enjoy the idyllic autumnal days while they’re still around. Recent evidence indicates climate change might zap everything colorful and crispy out of fall.  While scientists can’t exactly predict what future falls will look like, research indicates big changes are coming.

Yes, there is something in the air:  smog
It’s hard to go apple picking when you can hardly breathe.  In August researchers at Georgia Tech released their findings that poor air quality may begin to bleed into autumn in areas of the southern U.S.  The team investigated the cause of several unexpected October peaks in ozone — aka smog.
Take it or leave it
Better plan that countryside drive now, folks.  In the Northeast, arguably the sparkliest jewel in the U.S.’s autumnal crown, foliage seasons could get shorter.

Yingying Xie, a postdoctoral research associate at SUNY-Buffalo who focuses on plant responses to climate change, says the foliage season could change in length, timing, and brilliance.  According to Xie, ideal fall conditions — warm days and cold nights — yield dazzling colors.  But increasingly common drought and high heat may cause trees in the Northeast to change color — and drop their leaves — earlier.  Trees change their leaf color because they are sucking up their own chlorophyll, leaving behind yellow or orange.  Losing leaves too early is bad for nutrient storage, as well as our viewing pleasure.

Read more at How Climate Change Is Screwing Up Your Favorite Season

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