Environment

Arboreal Confusion

Extreme weather events brought on by climate change have disrupted the annual fall foliage season, especially in parts of North America.

The leaves of deciduous trees from eastern Canada and New England to the Rockies typically transform into hues of yellow and red at this time of year. But heat waves, drought and leaf-stripping hurricanes have shocked some trees into a state of arboreal confusion.

“Instead of trees doing this gradual change, they get thrown these wacky weather events. They change all of a sudden, or they drop leaves early,” Colorado arborist Michael Sundberg told The Associated Press.

Arctic Minimum

The sea ice surrounding the North Pole reached its lowest coverage of the year on Sept. 17. While not a record low this year, sea ice cover has dropped by about 50% since the 1980s, which scientists say has been a direct result of greenhouse gas emissions. This summer’s more stubborn ice forced Russia to use icebreakers to clear a path through its summertime Northern Sea Route after it remained blocked for the first time since 2008.

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