As fall gets into full swing, many wonder when the leaves will begin changing colors.
Jingjing Liang, an associate professor of quantitative forest ecology from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, said chlorophyll, a chemical compound that gives plants energy during photosynthesis, is responsible for the green color of leaves. During the fall, Liang says that a reduction in solar energy and lower temperatures cause trees to produce less chlorophyll.
This results in the vibrant red, yellow and orange colors that Liang says are the true color of the leaves.
Liang said he believes that fall coloration in trees will peak sometime during the second half of October this year. This will depend on local weather patterns and what kinds of trees are in a certain area, he said.
Climate change will have an impact on fall foliage color as weather patterns change and tree species shift in reaction to fluctuating temperatures, Liang said.
The areas where certain trees currently live will probably shift over the coming decades as a result of changes in the environment, he added.