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NCCO: Why do the leaves change color?

Every fall, deciduous trees in the Southeast (and elsewhere in the country) change color. Every year, we get asked why. The North Carolina Climate Office has a good description at http://climate.ncsu.edu/climateblog?id=302&h=5666e5c1.

Will this year’s drought impact the leaf color in the Southeast? WSB addresses that in a recent article here.

Source: Steve Jurvetson, Commons Wikimedia