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Emerging Fall: Earth Image of the Week October 8, 2010
An blanket of autumnal color can be seen spreading across Michigan's Upper Peninsula over a two-week period.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is typically one of the first places in the country to experience fall foliage each year.

The series of three images to the right were taken by NASA’s Terra satellite, and illustrate how quickly the landscape can change in that area in response to cooler nights and shorter daylight hours.

In the first image, taken on September 19, greet was still the pervasive color of the landscape across the region.

But within only a week, yellows and oranges, seen in the second image from September 26, had emerged on most areas in response to temperatures dipping into the upper 30s at night.

The last image was taken on Sunday, October 3, and shows the autumn colors prevailed in all areas outside the conifer forest cover.

Just a day earlier, on October 2, the season’s first “lake effect” snowfall dusted the Upper Peninsula with a wintry white.

That phenomenon occurs when moisture from the still-warm Great Lakes is lifted high enough to encouter cool upper-air currents from Arctic Canada blowing south and southeastward across the large bodies of water.

Often, that moisture becomes snow that falls in bands that are aligned with the direction of the wind causing the “lake effect.” But Saturday’s snowfall melted quickly, and temperatures rebounded into the 50s the following day after a morning low just above freezing.

Images: CIMSS/NASA MODIS