Why fall foliage seems more vibrant on cloudy days

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Fall foliage can appear more or less vibrant depending on the weather conditions. It’s a type of optical illusion.

When the sky is darker because of a cloudy day, that makes the fall foliage colors appear more vibrant. So the reds, oranges, and yellows stand out more with a gloomy sky. The opposite is for a bright, sunny day. The bright skies behind the foliage can dull the appearance of the autumn colors.

“I think it can, there’s not a lot of data on that, but it certainly can affect our perception of the leaves. That background of a sunny sky versus a cloudy sky provides can impact how we actually perceive the plant and the coloration of the leaves,” Rick Harper, an extension associate professor of urban forestry at UMass, told 22News.

Monday was a rather cloudy, wet day, so the foliage appeared different to our eyes than Tuesday afternoon when the sun popped out after some morning clouds.

And we do have multiple chances of rain this week which means more clouds around, so we’ll see that effect Wednesday and Thursday.

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