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Brilliant Autumn Colors Could Arrive Later Than Normal

By Valerie Smock
September 28, 2012; 11:38 AM

Research has seen leaves changing in Massachusetts three days later than two decades ago. In Vermont, the growing season ended later than the statistical average in seven out of the last 10 years. This may be shocking information, especially if autumn is one of your favorite seasons because of the changing leaves.

The colors associated with fall happen when production of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that's crucial to photosynthesis, slows down as the days get shorter and the nights grow longer. That exposes leaves' yellow, red and orange pigments that are normally hidden from view.

What is happening is that climate change is affecting precipitation, which in turn plays a factor in color intensity. In addition, a warming world may also delay leaves from turning.

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