CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Take a look outside and you can already start to see the trees changing color.

While most people think the autumnal equinox is the beginning of fall, it actually started at the beginning of this month. You’ll find many trees in western Massachusetts displaying either reddish brown leaves, deep red, or yellow leaves from the middle of September, all the way until the beginning of November. This is mainly due to the decreasing levels in chlorophyll, which give leaves their green color.

Chlorophyll needs sunlight in order to survive. As nights start to get longer, chlorophyll levels start to dwindle and reveal a variety of colors depending on the type of tree. Hot and wet weather has accelerated this process, according to Michael Rawlins, an associate professor of geographic and climate sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“There’s been some research that suggests that really, really wet conditions may have an influence on the amount of water that plants can transpire. With these really, really warmer temperatures, there’s certainly a possibility that really, really warm temperatures in recent weeks may have an influence on the colors that we see this fall,” said Rawlins.

Fall colors reach New England a little later than the rest of the country. Professor Rawlins told 22News places in the south with warmer air experience the changing of colors first and then in colder places like New England later.

If you want to see these fall colors for yourself, there’s a couple places to go, including Rocky Mountain State Park in Greenfield, the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, and Mohawk State Park in North Adams.

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