This interactive map shows fall foliage predictions across the U.S. (Smoky Mountains/USFWS Midwest Region/Flickr)
This interactive map shows fall foliage predictions across the U.S.
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An interactive map was made. It was done by a tourism website. It is called Smoky Mountains. It is set to help fall foliage fans. It will help make the most of the colorful season.

Alison Fox reported on it for Travel + Leisure. The map draws on various data. It includes precipitation. It includes temperature forecasts. It includes average daylight exposure. And it uses soil moisture. It predicts the timing of leaves' color change. This is across the United States.

Users can view weekly forecasts. They select dates. They are listed below the color-coded map. Swaths of green overtake the map. That's when users click September 7. It shows the lack of fall foliage. 

October 19 shows something different. It shows shades of orange. It shows red. And it shows brown. It is the arrival of near peak foliage. Or it is peak foliage. It is in the northern U.S. And it is in the western U.S. 

November 30 shows a new story. All but the southernmost parts of the U.S. are past peak point.

"The predictive fall leaf map helps potential travelers, photographers and leaf peepers determine the precise future date that the leaves will peak in each area of the continental United States," said Wes Melton. He is a data scientist. He helped create the tool. 

"We believe this ... will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn."

David Angotti is another researcher. He also helped with the yearly map. He talked to Patch's Beth Dalbey. He said that no forecast is "100 percent accurate." He added that Smoky Mountains' tool is one of the only proven to provide accurate predictions. They are for the whole country.

The team analyzed millions of data points. They were collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also used other private and public organizations. That's according to Travel + Leisure's Fox. 

Dalbey writes that the researchers refine the tool every year. This is the sixth version of the map. It builds on various sources. These include historical temperatures. It also includes forecasted temperatures. It looks at leaf peak trends. It looks at peak observation trends. These help produce the final map.

Chlorophyll is a chemical. It turns leaves green. Plants stop producing it when fall comes. That's according to the U.S. Forest Service. This process unmasks pigments. They are typically overpowered by chlorophyll. It creates the beautiful colors. These are associated with fall foliage.

Last year there was a long delay. It was in the fall colors' Midwest debut. It led the leaf-spotting Foliage Network to deem the season "bizarre." 

Last year was the first time the group recorded almost no color change. That was by the second half of October. That's according to City Lab's Linda Poon.
The leaves finally did change. But they were mostly green and brown. They were not orange and red.

Experts say fall foliage is running behind schedule in 2019. Brian Donegan works for Weather.com. He reported on the season. He said temperatures were above average in September. This delayed the timing of peak foliage.

Early October will likely mark the start of 2019's prime leaf-peeping season. That's thanks to the warm weather. New England saw peak foliage last week. So did and the Rockies. Tourists seeking autumnal reds and golds should pack their bags. They should prepare to enjoy the view.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What other features do you think should be included in the map? How would they be beneficial?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (1)
  • TzarS-bad
    10/21/2019 - 11:11 a.m.

    They should include altitude and temperature so that people can enjoy their fall foliage.

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