Will the Hot Summer Fail to Give Fall Foliage Color?

September 16, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
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As a new season gets under way, many visualize their autumn days with crisp air and beautiful scenery because of the leaves changing colors.

With the drought that has been taking place through the Northeast, how will that affect the fall leaves that many are expecting?

Some parts of the Northeast experienced dry conditions this summer. For example, Concord, N.H., had only 60 percent of their normal rain fall during the summer months.

How does the weather cause these colorful leaves?

"I think there is a potential effect from the drought and warm weather we had this summer. Some trees, the leaves are turning brown and some trees are getting into early coloration," Dr. Marc Abrams, Professor of Forest and Ecology and Physiology of the Pennsylvania State University, said.

Abrams added the weather over the next month is also crucial in deciding the fate of the fall colors.

Autumn leaf color depends on two key components--light and water. Leaves need light, water and carbon dioxide to react with the plants' chlorophyll in order to keep their green shading.

When fall rolls around, the cool nights produce sugar in the leaves and trigger the veins to start closing off. In doing so, the sugars produce the different pigments of the leaves that we see every autumn.

When the veins are eventually filled with sugar, it closes off from the connecting tissue and the leaves fall.

Keep your fingers crossed for the right weather to lead into a picturesque fall season.

Related to the Story:

Worsening Eastern US Drought, Prospects of Rain

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