Ask Storm Team 11: How and why do leaves change color?

Weather

Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was “How and why do leaves change color?”

Specific chemicals called pigments cause leaves to change color. Their bright green color in spring, summer and early fall are caused by the production of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the dominant pigment, but in the fall months, less is produced, allowing colors to shine through. 

Carotenoids lead to the yellow and oranges. This is the same pigment that gives carrots their color.
Anthocyanins give us those bright red-colored leaves.

The shorter days and our weather patterns also make a difference. Hot, dry weather can delay the onset of fall color whereas cool and wet weather is usually better news for leaf peepers. 

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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