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You've Got to be Kidding...

Oh, the Colours


Jonathan van Bilsen

October 26, 2022

Oh, the Colours

Have you noticed the colours this autumn? Are they not spectacular? This has to be one of the most vibrant displays Mother Nature has given us, in a very long time. There is no need to drive to Algonquin Park or New England, as this year, North Durham is highlighting an amazing display for us to enjoy.

Visitors and residents alike, have been in awe as they travel around the region. It made me wonder, why this year was special? As one person told me, nature is rewarding us for all we have gone through during the past two years. I am not convinced that is the case, as nature is science and, as in all things scientific, there is a logical reason.

So, why this year? Experts tell us the foliage this season is more vibrant than in recent years, thanks largely to specific weather patterns. Sean Thomas is a professor of forest ecology, at the University of Toronto. He acknowledged, fall colours in Toronto this year have been remarkable, especially after duller colours seen last year.

The biggest contributor to the wonderful foliage, was the lower temperatures, which avoided frost. Add to that a sufficient amount of rainfall (although many thought it was too much). Combined, these factors are responsible for the colours.

If you recall last year, it was a relatively dull fall. This was mainly due to warmer temperatures, and a very dry autumn season. Leaves change colour based on three factors: the type of tree, the hours of sunshine, and the weather.

Weather of course, changes from season to season, but seems to maintain consistency throughout the province. Fortunately for us, we can see similar, vibrant colours anywhere we go in Ontario.

This is definitely true, as the trees along the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, were just as stunning as the ones in North Durham.

There are three chemicals that go into the makeup of fall colours - chlorophyll, anthocyanin and carotenoids. For those of you who did not have a chemistry set growing up, chlorophyll gives leaves their green colour, from spring through summer, but stops working as the temperatures begin to drop. The other two, are yellow, orange and red organic pigments (and varying degrees of each), produced by plants and algae. They are very dependent on the temperature.

Whatever the reason, the views are fantastic and social media has taken full advantage of the show, with thousands of pics and selfies all over the internet. Say what you will about the weather in our region, I will take four seasons anytime.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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