Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United States Science

Leave It To the Heat to Dull Autumn's Glory (wsj.com) 140

It's autumn. Somebody tell the trees. From a report: Ordinarily, two signals alert deciduous trees that it's time to relinquish the green hues of summer in favor of autumn's yellows, oranges and reds. First, the days begin to grow shorter. Second, the temperature begins to drop. But this year, unseasonably warm weather across most of the U.S. has tricked trees into delaying the onset of fall's color extravaganza. Temperatures in the eastern half of the country have been as much as 15 degrees above normal since mid-September, and the warmth is expected to persist through the end of October. The unfortunate result for leaf peepers is a lackluster fall. Two kinds of pigments produce the season's liveliest foliage. Carotenoid, responsible for yellows and oranges, is always present in leaves but is usually masked by chlorophyll. The initial trigger for its appearance is shorter days. Anthocyanin, responsible for reds and deep purples, is different. Not all deciduous trees have this pigment, and those that do manufacture it from scratch in the fall. The primary trigger for its appearance is lower temperatures. Without that cooling cue, the colors of maple and other species that generally ignite New England with brilliant reds this time of year are likely to fizzle.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Leave It To the Heat to Dull Autumn's Glory

Comments Filter:
  • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
    Seems slightly non tech related.
    • But it is science-related.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @01:37PM (#55378525) Homepage

      Seems to me that explaining the world around us is of interest to nerds.

      Not all "news for nerds" has to be "here's the latest update about Ruby on Rails implementation on Ubuntu run on a Raspberry Pi to mine bitcoin."

      • You got that right! Some news could be "here's the latest update about .net implementation on FreeBSD running on a Raspberry Pi Zero to mine Monero."

      • Seems to me that explaining the world around us is of interest to nerds.

        And that's exactly why your side lost the election. Don't you get it? We don't want to know about the world around us. #MAGA

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        Yep. I moved from the Midwest to Colorado a while back. I've noticed we get more yellow and less of the reds and purples. I generally assumed that had to do with either the type of trees that grow at elevation, or something in the soil, that made the difference. I hadn't considered the daily temperature fluctuation might have been a part of it.

        Then again, we have a bigger swing out here (colder at night) because of the thin air, so maybe that really does bring us back to the types of trees that grow here.

    • Well, there's digital photography involved, climate science, etc. I live in Maine. The colors are spectacular (Yellows, Oranges and Reds), they're just a couple of weeks late. The shorter days get them going, but what really gets the trees going is a frost which is something much of the country doesn't get until after the leaves drop.
  • Temperatures in the eastern half of the country have been as much as 15 degrees above normal since mid-September

    Is that 15 degrees Delisle, Leiden or Rankine?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      15 degrees in Library of Congresses.

    • Is that 15 degrees Delisle, Leiden or Rankine?

      It's unqualified, so presumably degrees of arc - one of the longest established measures in the world, dating back to several hundred years BCE (middle Iron Age).

      Bloody strange way of measuring temperature though.

  • Colorado mountains this year actually had a somewhat early year for fall color, which was then sadly messed with near peak by weeks of cold rain/snow - it left a lot of the colors pretty muted as well (lots of moisture seems to bring out a lot of mold that causes black spots on the leaves).

  • It has indeed been a wonderful warm fall. They happen sometimes and we enjoy falls like this. I'm willing to give up a little bright color for a longer growing season and gentler weather. Realize that global warming isn't all bad. Those of us in the northern climes benefit.

    • I've been hoping for longer golf seasons with climate change but it has not made much difference yet.

    • Here in south central New Hampshire fall started early with a mild freeze September 3. Some trees started turning, but the warm fall has kept the yellows and oranges in the trees for over a month.
  • Something something irrefutable proof! No not enough data! But but questionably funded study! I want to believe! I will stand firm in the face of all facts!

    I lied, it's more like this:

    A: My position is clearly the correct one, and all who do not hold it are imbeciles.
    B: My position is clearly the correct one, and all who do not hold it are imbeciles.

    At least they can agree on something.
  • OK, so now lackluster fall colors are the fault of global warming?

    Funny, driving the last couple of weeks through MN, and I thought the colors were particularly vibrant this year. In fact, I've commented aloud that it's like being in a Bob Ross painting.

    Add 'dull colors' to the list: http://www.whatreallyhappened.... [whatreallyhappened.com]

    The idea that one warm autumn is anything unusual is nuts.

  • I grew up and lived in the North East and I have to say this, fall is the most overrated season ever which then allows us to be greeted by the worst season ever Winter.

    Let's list why fall stinks:

    1. It's the end of summer. Thank goodness the traditionally fall months are hot, but instead of a gradual weather change, it's now hot hot hot and then freezing cold. I'll take having a few extra months of hot weather before the frigid cold and ice sets in.

    2. High fall, ie the time when the leaves are the most color

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      I (and I suspect anyone who is not an advertiser) am completely down with #3.

    • Fall is second worst, correct, but only after spring.

      Summer is best, winter is second.

      I hate those mushy-middle temperatures. Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon? Just sort of cool outside but the sun is shining? You can't PLAN on that sort of weather. Do I wear a sweater or not? If I wear one, am I going to have to roll up my sleeves for 15s and then decide it's too cold for that? Make up your damn mind?

      You know where you stand with summer and winter. Gimme 25 to 30C and -20 to -30C, and I can work

    • by orlanz ( 882574 )

      NO. Fall is the best. I am from the South East. We all agree Winter sucks (and #3 on your list) so won't go into it.

      Summer... is too HOT. People think of swimming pools and ice cream. No one thinks about the smell of sweat, sun burn, and melted ice cream. Spring is when everything is trying to procreate. We get tons of pollen messing up everyone's sinuses. We have yellow streams running down sidewalks. Rain in both seasons are hot, humid, and icky. Both seasons have tons of bugs, mosquitoes, and g

    • Agreed. I go back once a year for a week at Christmas and get my dose of snow and cold. It allows me to appreciate it out here.

      It's funny because I'll start muttering in December about how cold it is. I'll start wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts. Then I'll go back to the Northeast at Christmas, come back, and go, "My God! It's so warm!" And start wearing shorts when it's 60 degrees out.

  • > Temperatures in the eastern half of the country have been as much as 15 degrees above normal

    Holy FS! I thought it was just me. We needed heat and aircon on the same day earlier this month.

  • half the trees in [downtown] dallas never even dropped their leaves from last year. we had at most 3 or 4 days where you had to wear a jacket.
  • The trees know what's up. They just aren't set to our timetables. The trees do what the trees want, Holmes, just like the rest of us.
  • It has a name (Score:4, Informative)

    by McFortner ( 881162 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @05:33PM (#55380019)
    It's called La Niña. It's happened before, and it will happen again. Nothing new here, just somebody who doesn't know any better panicking and setting other people off. #fakenews
    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      Panicking? About what?

      This is about fall foliage, and how the warm weather will reduce the appearance of certain colors. There is no "panic" here.

      But to correct your obvious (Russian) trolling, La Nina typically results in cooler temperatures for the Eastern US. If anything the temperatures should have been cooler, but they weren't due to a huge blocking ridge over the western half of the country. Blocking ridges such as these have become a more common occurrence as the northern jet weakens. The northern je

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

Working...