Snow covers Saharan dunes as temperatures plummet below zero

Posted by David Henning on 20 January 2022

Snow has fallen in the Sahara desert near the town of Ain Sefra on the North-Western Slopes of Algeria on January 7 2022, for only the fifth time in the past 42 years.

The town of Ain Sefra sits at 1000 m above sea level in the Saharan Atlas mountains, which has previously only recorded snow in 1979, 2016, 2018 and 2021.


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The temperature in the region dropped as low as -2°C, covering much of the iconic Saharan dunes with sheets of ice. Temperatures in the town regularly reach 35°C or more, so snow in the region is very much an isolated event.

According to Roman Vilfand, head of Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, commented on Russia’s news agency TASS, that the climate crisis could play a role southwest in Saharan snowfall.

‘Such situations, including snowfalls in Sahara, a long cold spell in North America, very warm weather in the European part of Russia and sustained rains which sparked flooding in Western European countries, have been occurring more frequently,’ he said in the interview.

‘The high recurrence of these extreme weather conditions stems from global warming. It is not just my standpoint, but an opinion shared by members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’


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