Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Forecaster: Dry Weather Should Mean Good Fall Color

25.08.2008
Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster Katherine Mathews is predicting a colorful autumn leaf season for the mountains of Western North Carolina

If there’s a silver lining to be found in the lack of rain clouds during an extended period of dry weather across the mountains of Western North Carolina this spring and summer, it may come in the form of above-average leaf color this fall.

That’s the word from Katherine Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster and an assistant professor of biology specializing in plant systematics. Typically, drier weather during the spring and early summer results in a colorful fall leaf season beginning in October, said Mathews.

“This should be a pretty good year for leaf color change,” she said. “Although there was enough rainfall this spring to keep the trees healthy, we are still in drought conditions in the western part of the state, which, surprisingly, is good for fall color. Fortunately, the summer temperatures have not been as consistently hot as we had last year, so we should not experience the early leaf drop we had last fall. It all adds up to a nice, long progression of fall color.”

Historically, below-average rainfall during the spring and early summer means plant growth is stunted by a lack of sufficient water, Mathews said.

The final factor in the equation is climate during the first weeks of autumn, she said. “If the temperatures in September and October cooperate and cool down, contributing to the breakdown of chlorophyll, we should expect to see some brilliant fall colors this year,” Mathews said.

Chlorophyll is the chemical that gives leaves their green color in spring and summer. As chlorophyll breaks down, yellow pigments – always present in the leaves, but masked by the green of chlorophyll – are revealed, and new red pigments are produced.

Mathews also said leaf-lookers should not worry about any negative impact on fall color from the emergence of periodic cicadas in some spots across the mountains earlier this year.

The annual color show will begin first in the higher elevations of the northwestern sections of North Carolina, typically in early October, and progress southward and down slopes through mid-October and early November. Yellow birches, red sourwoods, red and yellow maples, yellow pin cherries and yellow poplars will be the first colors to show, Mathews said.

They will be followed by the yellow and red of oaks and sweet gums, yellow of hickories, yellow and brown of beeches, and a variety of other color shades in the vines, shrubs and smaller trees beneath the forest canopy. Peak fall color should arrive five to 10 days after the first frost at any particular location, Mathews said.

“Last year, there was not much of a peak, although we did see some brilliant color. This year, the trees should be on a more typical color schedule, peaking in mid-October in the mountains,” she said. “And a sharp cooling of temperatures in September and October would really cause the colors to burst, as this stimulates the production of anthocyanin, or red pigments.”

Western Carolina University is one of the 16 senior institutions of the University of North Carolina system. Western enrolls approximately 9,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs of study, and is located about 50 miles west of Asheville, N.C., near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bill Studenc | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wcu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dead trees are alive with fungi
10.01.2018 | Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

nachricht Management of mountain meadows influences resilience to climate extremes
10.01.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel 3-D printing technique yields high-performance composites

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations

16.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials

16.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>