2022 fall foliage peak map: Here’s when the trees will light up in CT

CONNECTICUT — If Old Farmers can predict how many inches of snow you’ll get six months before the first snowflake, why can’t New Scientists predict when the leaves will turn, weeks in advance?

This sums up the challenge faced by the recently released 2022 fall foliage prediction map. Fall won’t officially begin until September 22 with the autumnal equinox, and leaves won’t noticeably change color in Connecticut — or most places — until later in the season, but busy leaf watchers need to strategize well in advance.

David Angotti, a statistics expert who lives in Tennessee, was in the property management business in 2013 when he created the first fall foliage prediction map for SmokyMountains.com to help visitors plan their vacations. when the autumn leaves are at their brightest.

No predictive tool is 100% accurate, but it can give you a good idea of ​​seeing fall leaves as they turn their most flamboyant reds, vibrant oranges, and sunny yellows.

Tens of millions of people use the map every year to plan vacations, weddings and photography trips, but the most common use is for people who want to check the sheets closer to home.

“What started as a fun side project quickly became the most respected national fall leaf map and one of the nation’s top fall resources,” Angotti said in a press release.

This year, data scientists will incorporate reports from map users to update the map in late September. The backbone of the map is weather – temperature, humidity, sunlight and precipitation – but it incorporates historical and forecast data, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation forecasts, elevation, temperatures actuals, temperature forecasts and average daylight exposure to develop each county’s fall baseline. Date.

Once Angotti created the map for visitors to the Smokies, they then wanted to know the peak leaf viewing times in other parts of Tennessee. He therefore decided to collect data for the whole country.

Credit: SmokyMountains.com

To use the map, simply swipe the scale to the right to see when the leaves will peak in your state. Focus on your county and you can decide if it’s best to plan a north, south, east or west route.

Green shaded areas have not started to change color. As the season progresses, the map shows a progression of colors. When the areas are shaded brown, the leaves are past their peak.

It’s not just shorter days, longer nights and falling temperatures that signal to trees that it’s time to prepare for winter. The predictive map uses a complex algorithm that analyzes several million data points and generates approximately 50,000 predictive data.

This allows for a county-by-county forecast of the exact day the peak is expected to occur. This year, the formula will receive a mid-season update at the end of September that will pull the latest data to increase the accuracy and usefulness of the tool.

What are the causes of the different colors

You probably remember from science class that color change starts with photosynthesis. Leaves constantly produce chlorophyll – a key component of a plant’s ability to turn sunlight into the glucose it needs to thrive – from spring to early fall. These cells saturate the leaves, making them appear green to the human eye.

But the leaves are not green at all. Autumn is the time for the great revelation of leaves: their true color, unveiled as chlorophyll production stops. The breathtaking tapestry colors of fall are influenced by other compounds, according to the national park’s website.

Beta-carotene, the same pigment that turns carrots orange, reflects yellow and red sunlight and gives the leaves an orange hue.

Production of anthocyanin, which gives leaves their bright red color, increases in the fall, protecting and extending leaf life on a tree throughout the fall.

And those yellows that give the impression of walking in a ray of sunshine?

They are produced by flavonol, which is part of the flavonoid protein family. It is still present in the leaves but only shows up when chlorophyll production starts to slow down.

Carol N. Valencia