Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See the fall colours from space

You don't need to buy a ticket on Richard Branson's rocket to see the world from space. Regular followers of this blog will remember that we recommend the NOAA satellite image for the Great Lakes region for following ice-out progress. These images, updated several times daily, are also a useful tool for checking on the advance of fall colours in southern Ontario. Since the colours in this image are true, green and red forest cover shows up quite clearly. Check the image for Sept. 23 and you will see that the western area of Algonquin Park is showing a lot of red tinge. This corresponds with what we can see on the ground - the colours on the west side of Algonquin Park are lovely right now, with a nice mix of brilliant red, orange, yellow and green. Peak red will happen in another week or so depending on the weather. The danger of waiting too long to see the colours is that heavy rain and/or wind can knock the leaves out of the trees.

If you haven't looked at the NOAA satellite images before, here are a few tips. When the image first opens on your screen, you will find that you are looking at the upper left-hand corner, somewhere near Thunder Bay. Scroll to the right and down until you can recognize Georgian Bay, then go right (east) and look for familiar landforms and lakes of the Algonquin Park area. Bigger lakes like Opeongo, Cedar and Burnt Island are easily distinguishable. If you look carefully, you can even make out the thin line of Hwy 60 stretching across the region.

For a second opinion, and an overview of the fall colour situation throughout Ontario, visit the Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report.

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