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fantasy field stormy sky and little Autumn tree. © Getty Images

Does a hot summer trigger an early autumn?

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The apples are ripe, the plums are red...

Asked by: Anthony Jones, Swansea

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Fruits and berries that we normally associate with autumn can ripen early during a hot summer. But there are other autumnal changes that are unaffected or even slowed by a long, hot summer. Leaves won’t lose their green colour until the nights start to get chilly, because cold temperatures are needed to break down the chlorophyll pigment. Also, birds decide when to migrate south for the winter by the shortening day length, not the weather.

Why do leaves in autumn blow into tornadoes on the street? © Getty Images

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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