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October 28, 2009

Due to the weather...

Due to the weather not being able to make up its mind, (be it warm or cold, dry or rainy) we've been quite ill.  So, I apologize for the delay in posts. 

Due to the weather, and the fact that it's autumn, I expected to see some vibrant colors outside now that I'm well.  I believe the peak for fall colors in my area is supposed to be the third week of October. 

Due to the weather/climate changing there is very little color.  Most trees are still green.  Those that aren't are either brown, a dull yellow, or have fallen off before their time. 

According to an article by Fox News, Foliage Spectators are claiming the leaves are "duller, not as sparkly."  In recent years more and more trees are turning from the dull green of late summer to the rust-brown of late fall with barely a hint of color in between. 

I walked 20 minutes along the beach before I could find anything vibrant.

I also received a link for Martha Stewart's blog post titled "This Year's Autumn Compared To Last."  She compares last year's photos taken around where she lives to this year's photos of the same places and at the same time of year.  There is definitely a drastic difference. 

So, what's going on?

According to Appalachian State University, there are 10 things that can affect fall color:
  1. Higher temperatures.  (ie. a general warming of the globe.  Let's call it "Global Warming.")
  2. Altered timing and/or amounts of precipitation.  (So, since there's more rain, there's less color.  Check out Early Warning Signs regarding global warming and precipitation.)
  3. Higher levels of carbon dioxide.  (CO2, which contributes to global warming.  This is where we come in and conserve energy.)
  4. Changes in cloud cover and light striking the trees.  (Again see Early Warning Signs.)
  5. Increases in the length of the growing season and displacement of the timing of leaf out and leaf fall.  (In layman's terms - warmer weather, the growing season, is getting longer, and the natural annual cycle of trees is getting out of sync.  Therefore, when fall comes, trees have to "hurry and catch up" by turning brown and falling quicker.)
  6. Higher levels of nitrogen inputs and acidic deposition to ecosystems from agricultural practices such as fertilizing and hog production.  (Check out "Meat" the Facts.) 
  7. Higher levels of air pollutants such as ozone.  (Visit Global Warming 101.)
  8. Migration of trees farther north to escape the heat.  (National Geographic talks about trees heading north.)
  9. Extirpation of trees that can't migtate for one reason or another.  (For example, a tree may only be able to reproduce by using a specific animal species to spread its seeds.  When that species is endangered, so is the tree.)
  10. Changes in competition due to greater pest loads or invasive exotic species.  (See how genetic engineering affects our environment.)
Will fall foliage one day be a thing of the past?  At the rate we're going, yes.  But it won't happen soon.  However, I'm sure we don't want our great grandchildren looking at photos of vibrant fall colors while we sit in rockers talking about the old days when autumn was beautiful.  Visit the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Warming page and click on "Solutions" to find out more of what you can do. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your appreciation, Micah! And thank you for your support during my "down time."
    Your blogs are wonderful as always, and I look forward to referencing them both (especially coming up in April, when it's National Gardening Month).



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