A rare mothership cloud formation moves across Childress, Texas. The April 2004 issue featured a story that followed storm chasers throughout Tornado Alley in the middle of the U.S.

Mother Ship

A rare mothership cloud formation moves across Childress, Texas. The April 2004 issue featured a story that followed storm chasers throughout Tornado Alley in the middle of the U.S.
Photograph by Carsten Peter, Nat Geo Image Collection

31 photos from the Nat Geo archives that capture our ever-changing world

The July 2021 issue of our magazine called attention to the millions worldwide who may soon face unbearable temperatures. For this month's roundup of images, I wanted to highlight how climate change is rapidly transforming our planet—and how humans are being forced to adapt.

Michael Christopher Brown captured a cargo boat resting on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-largest freshwater lake. Its waters are warming fast, putting at risk the fish catches that feed millions of people in East Africa. (Some of the world's biggest lakes are drying up. Here's why.)

For a 1987 story, photographer Steve McCurry documented how persistent drought had devastated farmland in Mauritania. Dry and arid conditions, especially when compounded by overgrazing and deforestation, can cause deserts to quickly expand—and uproot entire communities in the process. (What is desertification?)

Melissa Farrow photographed a woman tending to a butterfly garden planted on a rehabilitated industrial site. These little oases provide safe havens for butterflies, crucial pollinators that are increasingly threatened by rising temperatures. (We’re losing monarchs fast. Here’s why.)

As the climate continues to change, the need for decisive environmental action from the international community only grows more urgent.

Breann Birkenbuel is the editor for Photo of the Day. Melody Rowell writes and researches the captions.

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