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Dry weather affecting autumn leaves colours

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Autumn Leaves - Level 4

The changing colour of autumn leaves is a spectacular event in forests worldwide. The colours form a colourful canvas that ends summer. In the USA, the leaves have been affected by drought. This has dulled the colours of the leaves. Much of America's northwest has had weather that did not produce colourful leaves. The traditional autumnal beauty spots of Massachusetts and New Hampshire are experiencing duller colours.

A forest and ecology professor explained why this year has been so bad. He said there were several factors, including mild drought, warm days and cool nights. He said the colours came two weeks earlier than normal, "and will probably go by fast and furiously". The weather created "physiological stress for the trees". The professor warned: "The stress is not a good thing and may be a harbinger of things to come with climate change."

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Autumn Leaves - Level 5

The changing colours of autumn leaves is a spectacular natural event in forests worldwide. The golds, reds, yellows, greens and browns are a colourful canvas that sees in the end of summer. This year in the USA, the foliage has been affected by drought conditions. This has dulled the vibrant colours of the leaves. Over 80 per cent of America's northwest has had weather not conducive to perfect foliage. The traditional autumnal beauty spots of Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are experiencing drought and lacklustre colours.

A forest and ecology professor at the University of Vermont explained why this year has been so bad. He said it was a combination of factors, including good tree growth, mild drought, warm days and cool nights over the last month. He added that the colours came two weeks earlier than normal, "and will probably go by fast and furiously". He said the drought creates "physiological stress for the trees". He warned: "The stress is not a good thing and may be a harbinger of things to come with climate change. In terms of fall foliage, drought can cause the leaves to die."

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11 online activities    |    8-page printable   (PDF)

Autumn Leaves - Level 6

The changing of the colour of the autumn leaves is a spectacular, photogenic, natural event in many forests around the world. The myriad of golds, reds, yellows, greens and browns provides a colourful canvas that ushers in the end of summer. This year in the USA, the autumn foliage has been adversely affected by drought conditions. The vibrant colours of the leaves have been dulled by unusually dry weather. Over 80 per cent of America's northwest is undergoing extreme conditions that are not conducive to perfect foliage. The traditional autumnal beauty spots of Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are experiencing severe drought, and lacklustre colours.

Dr. William Keeton, a forest ecology and forestry professor at the University of Vermont, explained why the adverse conditions were prevalent this year. He said: "It is due to a combination of factors, including good tree growth last year, mild drought and both warm days and cool nights over the last month." He added: "The colours this year are coming about two weeks earlier than normal and will probably go by fast and furiously. Largely, this is because the drought creates physiological stress for the trees." He warned: "The stress is not a good thing and may be a harbinger of things to come with climate change. In terms of fall foliage, drought can cause the leaves to die and fall off earlier."

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25 online activities    |    27-page printable    |    2-page mini-lesson



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