Fall Colors In southeastern United States
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Fall Colors In southeastern United States

November 14, 2011
Autumn’s brilliant hues continued to color the landscape of the southeastern United States in early November, 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image on November 9, 2011.

In the center of the image, the Appalachian Mountains curve from north to south, striped with brown, reds and green. In the higher elevations, the leaves are falling and the trees are becoming bare, leaving these areas mostly brown. In the valleys and river edges, however, the colors are still vibrant, especially the leaves of oaks, hickories, maple, sourwood, and dogwood, many of which exhibit warm hues of crimson and orange.

In addition to deciduous trees, other plants contribute to the autumnal colors. The vine called Virginia creeper develops crimson leaves, sumac develops deep red color, and the leaves of wild blueberry bushes glow orange-red.

To the west of the Appalachians, in West Virginia and middle Tennessee, the valleys are swathed in orange and crimson, as is the North Carolina piedmont region, east of the mountains. According to the Weekly Fall Color Report from visitNC.com, the lower nighttime temperatures required for good color development did not become established until late in the season, slowing color development and extending the season. Although several species have lost their leaves, the forests, fields and roadways are expected to exhibit good color for another week or 10 days.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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