Ice covers the Sahara Desert for just 4th time in 50 years

23-01-2021 05:29 PM

Ammon News - The world's largest desert rarely sees snow like this.

One of the world's driest places awoke to an otherworldly dusting of frost On Tuesday (Jan. 19).

In the Sahara Desert of northwestern Algeria, just outside the town of Ain Sefra, sand dunes were streaked with ice crystals as far as the eye could see. Local photographer Karim Bouchetata captured the unusual weather in pictures and videos that have since made headlines around the world.

Ain Sefra sits about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, near the Algerian-Moroccan border. While summer temperatures in the region regularly soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), January days average a much milder 57 F (14 C), as reported by to Sky News. Tuesday's ethereal display of frost followed a rare night of 27-F (minus 3 C) temperatures.

Snow and ice accumulation in the northern Sahara is unusual, but not unprecedented. Tuesday's dusting marks the fourth time in 42 years that Ain Sefra has seen snow, with previous occurrences in 1979, 2016 and 2018. Those past snowfalls were much heavier than this week's display; in 2018, some areas of northwestern Algeria saw up to 15 inches (40 centimeters) of snow, while the 2016 blizzard dumped more than 3 feet (1 m) in select regions, Live Science previously reported.


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