Fall colors and the science behind why leaves change

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)–As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop fall color is beginning to pop around the state.

According to New England’s fall foliage interactive website much of the northern U.S. is experiencing peak conditions. Parts of New England and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are already past peak.

Indiana is beginning to see some fall color. The northern part of the state is seeing near peak conditions while central Indiana is experiencing patchy color. Areas in the southeastern part of the state hasn’t seen much change yet.

While weather does have an impact on the fall colors the length of day is what really helps the leaves to change color. The lack of sunlight helps to break down chlorophyll in the leaves. This is what makes the leaves green.
Once the days become shorter and chlorophyll becomes less vibrant red, yellow and orange colors come out.

Weather conditions do make a difference in how long fall colors last or how vibrant they are. An early frost and drought have negative impacts on leaves changing color. While moderate to heavy rain and near normal temperatures allow colors to really pop.