Fall Colors In The Upper Midwest • Earth.com

Last update: August 23rd, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Halfway through October 2015, fall color had made a pronounced appearance across part of the Northern Hemisphere. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image showing the changing fall colors in the Upper Midwest. Besides the glorious color of the landscape, the most prominent feature in this image is three of the Great Lakes. Counter-clockwise from northwest they are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Sunlight and temperature are the primary factors responsible for the shift from green to shades of brown and orange. Fall color generally peaks around mid-October as temperatures drop and sunlight fades. But the exact date of the peak is not the same everywhere. Northern latitudes see temperatures drop sooner and sunlight fade faster, so color will appear there as early as September. Areas farther south can see peak color in mid-November. Elevation matters too, with fall color generally starting sooner at colder, higher altitudes. Halfway through October 2015, fall color had made a pronounced appearance across part of the Northern Hemisphere. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image showing the changing fall foliage in the Upper Midwest. Besides the glorious color of the landscape, the most prominent feature in this image is three of the Great Lakes. Counter-clockwise from northwest they are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Sunlight and temperature are the primary factors responsible for the shift from green to shades of brown and orange. Fall color generally peaks around mid-October as temperatures drop and sunlight fades. But the exact date of the peak is not the same everywhere. Northern latitudes see temperatures drop sooner and sunlight fade faster, so color will appear there as early as September. Areas farther south can see peak color in mid-November. Elevation matters too, with fall color generally starting sooner at colder, higher altitudes.

Some years, however, turn up a more spectacular burst of color than others. It turns out that the weather before and during the transition plays a large role in color intensity. Brightest colors occur when dry, sunny days are followed by cool, dry nights. The weather cooperated in some areas so far in 2015, providing vivid color displays.

Some years, however, turn up a more spectacular burst of color than others. It turns out that the weather before and during the transition plays a large role in color intensity. Brightest colors occur when dry, sunny days are followed by cool, dry nights. The weather cooperated in some areas so far in 2015, providing vivid color displays.

NASA

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