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New research shows autumn leaves falling earlier in season

A new research study published in Science shows that autumn leaves are falling earlier than in previous years, a surprise considering that warmer temperatures are moving the fall freezing temperatures later in the year. The scientists link this to quicker growth in the spring and maxing out the amount of carbon they can store. This means that models which predict how trees capture carbon are likely overestimating the amount of carbon that can be captured in forests. According to The Guardian, “The new research is based on a huge dataset of observations of European trees, experiments that varied light and CO2 levels, and mathematical models. It showed that as well as temperature and day length, the amount of carbon a tree has absorbed in a season is a key factor in determining when it no longer needs its leaves and sheds them. The scientists liken the effect to a person becoming full after a heavy meal and being unable to eat more food.” You can read the article here.

Source: Nicholas A. Tonnelli via Commons Wikimedia