Climate Change Affects Autumn

Colorful leaves fall sooner, before season begins

Ahan Devgun, Staff Writer

From the seasonal drinks to the colorful leaves that explode in shades of orange and red, autumn has always brought much needed variety to the change of seasons. However, because of climate change, fall has gotten warmer over the years. Because of this warmth, the changing of the leaves has been behind, and the leaves have been changing later and later. According to a study done by George Mason University, the appearance of fall colors has been pushed back by over a month since the 19th century. In Minnesota, two weeks before this article was published, most of the state has only 0-10% of trees that have changed colors. 

However, it’s not just temperature that is causing this change in fall foliage. A lack of precipitation and increased infestations also play a role, but climate change heavily exacerbates these issues. In addition, delays in fall weather also interrupt cycles of growth that trees go through, and they are not able to store carbon at the same rate. 

As warm temperatures stay longer and spring begins earlier, tree foliage are experiencing long growing periods with shorter times between the cold months and the warm months, making fall shorter. Climate change affecting trees also then affects the environment in turn, as forests absorb 30% of all carbon emissions, and as the trees are getting less and less time to absorb the nutrients from the leaves, this may decrease the ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide.