One of my favorite things about living in the Great Lakes region is that each month has a different feel. October is a most comfortable month, a beautiful month, thanks to the colorful theatrical display put on by the leaves. But, what makes the leaves change color?
According to SciJinks, a website developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it comes down to sunlight. When sunlight is abundant, leaves make chlorophyll in abundance and it is chlorophyll that makes leaves green. When the days shorten and sunlight decreases, the other pigments are able to push the front. Yellows from xanthophylls, oranges from carotenoids, and reds from anthocyanins. Temperature and water play a role in when the leaves change and how long the colors stay, but then, those of us who see this annual display know that.