HOW DO WE GET THE SEASONS: The Earth is tilted at a 23.5 degree angle. Throughout the year, the Earth revolves around the sun placing the northern and southern hemisphere in different positions during its revolution. It’s not about how close the planet is to the sun, but more of which hemisphere is tilted towards it or not. During the Spring and Autumnal Equinox, both the north and south poles along with all latitudes will receive 12 hours of daylight. From this point moving forward, the days will start getting shorter. The plants and trees notice this change, and their response is the changing of the leaf colors.
HOW THE LEAVES CHANGE COLOR: When the trees notice the change in daylight hours, they stop producing chlorophyll which is the green pigmentation that traps the sunlight in order to produce food/energy during photosynthesis. The tree traps water and sugars at the base of the leaf. The leaf no longer produces chlorophyll causing it to change to its natural color of red, orange, yellow, etc. The type of tree determines which color it will be like dogwood it purplish red.
HOW DO WE GET THE VIBRANT COLORS: Amount of rainfall (moisture impact) and temperatures are the main reasons why the forest may look vibrant or not. Drier weather and warmer temperatures will delay the color change and keep it from looking vibrant. On the other hand, wetter weather and cool crisp nights allow for the leaves to change on time and be more vibrant.