Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Leaves are Still Here

Here it is mid-November, and at least half, if not more, of the forest's leaves are still firmly attached to their trees. A few of the trees' leaves are even still green-ish. What's truly bizarre about this is that in a normal year, all the leaves are down by the first of November.
At this point, I don't think this oddity can be blamed fully on temperature. The temperature has steadily dropped every day for nearly 3 weeks, and I've now had 3 good frosts in the past week. The November temperatures are actually below normal now, but the leaves still show little sign of falling. I was figuring they were only waiting for a good breeze to finish them off, but I had that this past weekend, and it didn't help much. It looks really odd outside to have the weather as chilly as it is but to still have so many leaves on the trees.
I wonder what larger effects on weather these clinging leaves might have. In summer, the leaves keep the hottest temperatures of the day from penetrating under the canopy, so I stay cooler at the cabin. I track the minimum and maximum temperature each day, and what I'm seeing now is that I'm having warmer overnight temperatures than Harrisburg does down along the river. The daytime temperatures are still cooler than Harrisburg. Do the leaves play any role in my warmer overnight temperatures? Or is that difference all due to my higher elevation?
There's so much I don't know. Every year has its own oddities. Sometimes the effects of those oddities are obvious, and parallels can easly be drawn. Other times, like now, it's more mysterious, though that veil of mystery could likely be parted with a little knowledge. I will investigate, though I don't know that I expect to find an answer yet. It might be too soon for answers. but winter lies ahead, and I will have time.


Rhea said...

There is a story in the paper today in Boston about how temperature changes (due to global climate change) have altered natural events. Scary.

dguzman said...

I like the fact that you keep records of temps, etc.--I always want to do that, but then I never find a good starting time. (read: I'm lazy) I imagine myself keeping a big nature journal with not just birds but other things, but again--I never seem to do it. Sigh.

Carolyn H said...

Rhea: Yes, the climate changes are scary, and this year, things only seem to be getting worse.

Dguzman: I haven't always kept temperature records, and my records have grown like Topsy over the years. In other words, I'm tracking more now than I was just a few years ago. Right now I use an Excel spreadsheet and have a thermometer that records the high/low temperature of the day, which makes it all a lot easier.