environment — September 22, 2013 at 1:25 PM ET
On the first day of fall: Could climate change mean a less colorful season?
By: Mori Rothman
Today’s the day to do every summer-related activity you’ve been putting off, because at 4:44 p.m. EDT, the season officially changes and as the days pass, everything will begin to look a little more like this:
Science.com has a nice explanation of what exactly happens during the Fall Equinox: the sun crosses the celestial equator, making our northern hemisphere colder.
And this season may also be the time catch the autumn leaves changing… while you still can.
Howie Neufeld, Professor of Plant Physiology at Appalachian State University believes climate change may reduce the effect of the leaves changing colors.
In the fall, trees begin to lose their chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color, and start synthesizing anthocyanins, which give leaves their red color. Orange and yellow colored leaves come from leaves without anthocyanins, which reveal underlying colors as the green from the chlorophyll fades.
Neufeld believes warmer temperatures may tamper with plant photosynthesis, resulting in less anthocyanins being synthesized–in short, fewer bright colors in the fall leaves (like those in the video below).
For those who aren’t fans of the colder seasons, keep in mind the fall season brings with it not only a changed landscape but also a host of fresh fruits and vegetables.