Warmer climate could affect fall foliage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Warmer climate could affect fall foliage

We are heading into early October and many of you are eagerly watching the trees for their annual display of colors. A drop in temperatures and a change in the amount of daily sunlight are triggers for the transformation of leaves. Just how stunning the display is and when it starts varies from year to year, depending on the summer and autumn temperatures as well precipitation.

Temperatures and precipitation in a given year are useful predictors for when that burst of color will occur. Moderate heat stress tends to delay leaf turn, while high heat stress or drought will cause colors to appear earlier and disappear faster. An increase in precipitation will usually delay the appearance of color, but too much rain could be a stresser for the trees, and, just like a drought, cause leaves to change early.

We had above average temperatures here in Memphis for most of the summer and even into September. We were also 12 inches above average in rainfall. Those two factor may mean the leaves change in early October rather than late October like they usually do in the Mid-South. The color may not last as long either. If you happen to see some good fall foliage color the next few weeks, snap a photo and share it with me on facebook or twitter. Click the links below. 

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Morning Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: 
Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @sdentonwx

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