Weather Wednesday: Why do leaves change color?


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — For this week’s Weather Wednesday, let’s take a look at the science behind one of the more beautiful seasons here in Michigan: fall.

Meteorologist Blake Harms has some cool facts to impress your friends, as well and information on when we can expect to see the best fall colors.

It’s another way to tell that we have entered into the fall season, the transition of leaves from green to a gorgeous array of reds, oranges, purples, and yellows; that soon fall to the ground, leaving lots of yard work for some.

These beautiful fall colors don’t just change randomly, it’s actually a result of a chemical process that takes place in the trees.

During spring and summer, we see lots of sunshine and warm temperatures. The trees convert this sunlight into food using a chemical called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the reason why leaves are green in the first place.

As the seasons change, we see less sunlight and cooler temperatures and the trees need to conserve energy, they do this by shedding their leaves. But before they can do that, they stop the production of chlorophyll.

After the production stops, other pigments are revealed, and we see those beautiful fall colors.

Here in mid-Michigan, the peak of fall foliage is almost right around the corner. It occurs around mid-October, but because of the unseasonably warm temperatures we have been experiencing this month, there might be some delays.

Nonetheless now as you walk, drive, bike past, or take pictures in front of these beautiful fall colors, you’ll be able to understand the science behind how it is actually happening.

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