The Washington Post Magazine features Aida Muluneh's work as cover photo

We know that the clock is ticking on climate change, yet the sheer volume of news can make it tough for even the most conscientious citizen to comprehend the full scale of the crisis. So for Earth Day, we created a different way to read about climate change: an all-cover issue of The Washington Post Magazine, with each cover illustrating an aspect of climate change that The Post wrote about in the past year or so. Scroll down to see the stories — and the covers we created to highlight them.

 

When Sand Expands


The Sahara is growing, thanks in part to climate change


By Darryl Fears

 

Photo by Aida Muluneh, “The Sorrow We Bear,” commissioned by WaterAid

 

Earth’s largest hot desert, the Sahara, is getting bigger, according to a study. It is advancing south into more-tropical terrain, turning green vegetation dry and soil once used for farming into barren ground in areas that can least afford to lose it.

 

Also frightening is that this is happening during the African summer, when there is usually more rain. But the precipitation has dried up, allowing the desert’s boundaries to expand. The authors say their study suggests that climate changes could be causing other hot deserts to expand as well — with potentially harsh economic and human consequences.

 

“The desert advance over a long period might capture many countries unawares,” said Sumant Nigam, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland and senior author of the study. “It’s sort of creeping up on you.”