Global warming is changing the weather, but to say it’sgetting warmer (or colder) is too simple. Birds and insectsthat are sensitive to subtle alterations in the climatereveal these changes by moving to new areas. Now botanistsare noticing another change: leaves are turning colorearlier than usual.

This is being noticed in southern Wisconsin, weeks beforethe arrival of fall. Botanist Michael Adams says, “There’sall kinds of speculation about why. The only thing for sureis that we’re getting an earlier color change.”

One reason may be the cooler nights they?ve experienced thissummer. Adams says, “When you get the cool nights, thesugars get trapped in the leaves. The sugar isn’t moving outof the leaves as rapidly. If you get more sugar trapped inthe leaves, you get more red color.”

The trees that are cut down in a few years should show thinrings for this growing season, revealing colder-than-averageweather. This is one way, along with ice cores, thatscientists have been able to track the history of theweather on Earth.

Are leaves changing earlier?or later?than usual where youlive? Are birds and butterflies missing from your area?orare you seeing more of them than usual? Send your input!

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