In week four of the new Of Schemes and Memes blog series, which features weekly interviews with the art team at Nature, Art Director Kelly Krause explains the decisions behind this week’s front cover image on drought and the Amazonian forest.
Congratulations to Marcel Hoek who has won the #naturecovers competition to name the blog series and wins a year’s personal subscription to Nature.
Sunrise with Brazil nut tree in Senador Guiomard, Acre, Brazil. Our understanding of the sensitivity of the terrestrial carbon budget to climate anomalies is based largely on modelling and small-scale ecosystem studies and remains uncertain. That means that although the fate of the vast amounts of carbon stored as Amazon rainforest biomass is crucial to future climate trends it is not clear whether the Amazon will remain a carbon sink or become a source — and a driver of climate change.
A new analysis of seasonal and annual carbon balances based on carbon dioxide and monoxide measurements for anomalously dry and wet years suggests that water availability has an important role in determining the carbon balance in the Amazon basin. During 2010, drought reduced plant production and limited the amount of carbon that could be stored in vegetation; at the same time large amounts of carbon were released by fire. The region was carbon neutral during the wet year, 2011, because of reduced carbon loss through fires and increased carbon uptake by vegetation. Cover: P&R Fotos/AGR Fotostock & robertharding.com
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“The decision to feature a striking photo of an Amazonian forest was an obvious one. The challenge was selecting just the right photo. Our amazing picture research team did an extensive search for images from the region examined by the researchers. Many of the photos showed a landscape of lush treetops, and those were tempting, but personally I found the idea of drought and fires in the Amazon to be more surprising (and was an essential point in the paper). I think most people expect a lush, wet photo of the Amazon, so we decided to show the opposite.
“A good cover photo should entice, enrich, or even surprise. It’s okay that it’s only telling half the story.”
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