Saturday, October 23, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

UPDATED for 2011 at end.

The fall foliage season this year in Upstate New York didn't seem that colorful to me. The leaves seemed to be dropping earlier than usual and without the vibrant colors we all look forward to each Autumn.

I looked back at some photos I took in a friend's backyard last October to see if my impressions were correct. Here's the way the maple trees looked last year (2009) on October 22nd.

October 22, 2009

I took the same scene this year on October 19th. The difference is obvious.

October 19, 2010

An early fall? Not really. Look at the Hosta in both pictures. It's actually greener this year. So are some of the other trees.

My guess is that the warmer, drier summer we had this year is the reason.

In the summer (6/1 to 8/31) of 2009, the area received 18 1/2 inches of rainfall, an excess from normal of over 7 1/2 inches. The average mean temperature over same the period was 1/2 degree lower than normal.

This year, the rainfall amount was 9 1/4 inches, a shortfall from normal of over an inch and a half and only half of what it was the year before. In addition, the average mean temperature was over 2 1/2 degrees higher than normal.

If I'm still around, I'll try to remember to do another comparison next year.

OK, I'm still around so here's the picture and information for 2011.

October 20, 2011
Using the same comparison dates, the area received 18.12 inches of rainfall, almost the same as 2009. The average mean temperature was 1.5 degrees above normal for the period. In addition, as of this date we have not had a frost, the lowest temperature reached being 36 degrees.

Another factor affecting the Maple tree in the center of the photos is insect damage. This Spring (2011), a Pileated Woodpecker opened up a large section of the lower trunk revealing a rather ugly scene. So I'm guessing that the brilliant display of 2009 and prior years is a thing of the past.

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