Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Confused Trees Snow Green Leaves on a Nice Sunny Day

We are officially in cloud season, but it turned out to be a day full of sunshine! I call it bonus sunshine. The trees are still not sure what season it is. Notice the green leaves falling to the ground today in West Lafayette. Yesterday it was snowing flurries and today it snowed green leaves. This is what happens when you have had very little autumn weather to speak of. Leaves change to prepare the trees for winter. Chlorophyll production which gives leaves their green color usually is shut off when you have shorter daylight hours, colder temperatures, and the combination of frosty nights and nice mild sunny days. When the trees stop producing chlorophyll you get those vibrant fall foliage colors. This year the trees have been tricked into keeping the chlorophyll machine humming because it has been just too warm. We also have not had many of those classic frosty nights that really helps to turn trees into picture postcards. So this is what happens. Trees still lose their leaves to prepare for winter, but they are still green! I have seen it all this year. Speaking of confused trees..I have also received reports of blooming trees in the past week in Monticello. Trees are not just losing their leaves, but blooming! Take a look below. The proof is in the bloom!

Courtesy of Wanda Martin in Monticello

Wow! First the blooming lilacs during the second week of October and now this. Maybe we are going to have to change our plant zone at the rate we are going. The good news is that our first real blast of autumn weather did arrive last night and it should help settle the trees and plants down. Here were this morning's weatherwatcher lows. Previously, our coldest morning had been 28 degrees in Lafayette, so this was a huge step into autumn!

Wanda in Boswell notified me that her cactus is not blooming and she did bring it inside to help save it. So there is a "normal" report for you. Today truly had a fall feel to it and it was nice to have what I call bonus sunshine. I use this term because there are plenty of gray days now that we are in November. Blame the jet stream. The jet stream is nature's highway of clouds and storms and it separates the colder air pushing in from the north with the warmer air to the south and of course at our latitude this time of year, we are usually the transition zone between the warm and cold. This brings the jet stream into our backyards and consequently plenty of cloudy days. You can see this clearly below.

It is kind of depressing looking at this graph, but we still have at least a couple of sunny days per week, even in the heart of cloudy season. At least we are not living in Cape Disappointment, Washington where it is cloudy on average about 10 out of 12 months of the year! Does that make you feel better? I hope so. Days can be pretty dark this time of year, but I do have sunshine back in your forecast, including a good portion of the weekend. Make sure to tune in for this tonight. Just in case you are still upset with it being cloud season, I will also let you know about highs close to 70 next week! We will talk more about how this is possible on the news and here on the blog. Make sure to check back and as always enjoy the weather!

No comments: