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Fall foliage was disrupted by climate change. It might be the new normal.


A forest in Newark, Vermont turns an impressive array of red and gold as October ushers in cooler weather and shorter days. Climate change is making fall temperatures warmer, on average, and disrupting the annual display of fall foliage in the eastern U.S. Fall is a special time of year in the forests along the eastern seaboard, as trees explode in brilliant shades of red and gold. The air is crisp, the days are still warm, and the turning foliage offers an irresistible riot of color—one that, by one rough estimate, generates as much as $30 billion a year in tourism revenue from Maine to the Carolinas.

“The mountains here in general are gorgeous,” says Larry Deane, a professional photographer who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. “You combine that with vivid fall colors and it’s just sort of magical.”

But fall is getting warmer as a result of climate change.

This past October was the world’s fourth warmest October in a 142-year record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s no surprise: The eight warmest Octobers have come in the last eight years. And the Northeast, which is most famous for fall […]

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