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Rare, Snowing in the Sahara Desert


Snow down on a stretch of sand Sahara desert because the temperature drops drastically making the temperature freeze.

Ice blanketing the barren dunes is a rare phenomenon in the world’s largest desert, given its usually hot temperatures. Photographer Karim Bouchetata, captured this stunning image of snow and ice in the town of Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria yesterday.

Quoted from Daily Mail, the ice creates a stunning pattern on the surface of the sand, after which the area is sprinkled with splashes snow dropped unexpectedly.

This is the fifth time in 42 years that snow has been seen in the city. Previously, similar events occurred in 1979, 2016, 2018 and 2021.

Ain Sefra known as The Gateway to the Desert or the gateway to Sahara desert, is about 3,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.

The Sahara Desert covers most of North Africa and has experienced changes in temperature and humidity over the last several hundred thousand years.

Even though the Sahara is very dry at this time, the desert is expected to return to its greenery in about 15,000 years.

Last year, camels were seen surrounded by snow as North Africa was gripped by extreme temperatures in summer and winter. The appearance of snow and ice in desert areas is not uncommon, but it does occur occasionally.

Temperatures in deserts can drop drastically overnight but the snow that falls usually melts early the next day.

In cases like the one seen this month in Algeria, a high pressure system of cold air has shifted to the desert, causing lower temperatures.

Such anticyclones tend to reach Saudi Arabia by moving clockwise out of Central Asia, picking up moisture on their way which cools to form snow.

In January 2022 and 2021, it snowed to Sahara desert and Saudi Arabia, but this isn’t the first time this normally scorching hot region has been shrouded in white. Temperatures in this region usually range from 12 degrees Celsius in January, the coldest month, to close to 40 degrees Celsius in July.

While Saudi Arabia’s Asir region experienced its first snowfall in half a century last January, snow has hit elsewhere in the desert kingdom in recent years.

In 2020, temperatures fell below freezing in the country’s mountainous northwestern region including Tabuk, when a blizzard prompted officials to warn residents to stay warm. A year earlier, snow down in April.

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