Fall colors appear around Lake Superior. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features some of the earliest fall colors emerging in forests across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
After a period of cooler weather, fall foliage began to appear throughout these regions in late September.
The photograph captures the area surrounding Lake Superior, including aspen, birch, maple, and basswood trees.
Deciduous trees begin to change colors in the fall as they lose chlorophyll, the molecule that plants use to synthesize food. When green chlorophyll fades, carotenoids and other leaf pigments can start to shine through.
The U.S. Forest Service explains that certain species of trees produce specific fall colors. For example, oak trees usually turn red or brown, while aspen trees turn golden yellow.
The image was obtained on September 22, 2020 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NOAA-20. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the third-largest freshwater lake by volume. It is shared by Ontario to the north, Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the south. Superior is the farthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, and the highest in elevation, draining through the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory