Climate change may lead to the onset of autumn in the future about a week early, because trees capture more carbon, causing leaf fall sooner, and for decades, scientists predicted the opposite, that temperate trees will gradually drop their leaves later in the year. This makes autumn late as average temperatures rise around the world.
But early observations seem to show that this has been occurring over the past few decades, resulting in a longer growing season that could slow the rate of climate change, and this study came to change perceptions and confirm that this trend is starting to reverse and that the leaves are falling early.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, a new large-scale study of European trees conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that the effects of deciduous tree leaves change the seasons, and the period of time during which trees store carbon from the air.
It is also difficult to determine the timing of leaf fall, as the research team explained, that there may be limits to the amount of greenhouse gases a tree can use or store in one year, and if all carbon needs are met, the leaves may fall early rather than late in the fall. .
The research team explained that changes in the tree growing season greatly affect the global carbon balance, but future patterns are difficult to predict, and this is due to the fact that the environmental drivers of leaf aging are not well understood by scientists.
The research team used long-term observations from the dominant tree species in Central Europe from 1948 to 2015 and experiments designed to modify carbon uptake to assess related impacts.
The study showed that an increase in the growing season in spring and summer due to increased carbon dioxide, light and high temperatures will lead to defoliation earlier rather than later.