The sandy dunes of the Sahara in northwest Algeria found themselves under up to a foot of snow in some spots earlier this month. But the snow didn’t last long. By the next day, most of it had melted away.
Luckily, the European Space Agency had a satellite imaging the area right after the snow storm blew through. “The Sentinel-2A satellite happened to be in the right place at the right time to record this rare event from space,” ESA representative Kelsea Brennan-Wessels said in a recent video.
Images captured by the Sentinel-2A satellite shows powdery snow covering the High Atlas mountains, which isn’t all that unusual. What is unusual is how the snow extended into the Lower Saharan Atlas range.
So how rare is a Saharan snow? This month’s snow was only the third time snow had been recorded in this area in the last 40 years. Temperatures routinely plunge at night, but it’s the extremely dry air that makes snow rare.
Let’s take a look at one of the images captured by the Sentinel-2A satellite.
Yep, that’s snow. But you might be wondering what’s up with the splashes of red in a couple of areas? Here’s a zoomed in look.
The image was processed to make vegetation pop as red. It makes it stand out against the backdrop of the orange dunes. And it shows us what we expect. Barely any vegetation in a desert. The area I zoomed in on is a cultivated forest
One of NASA’s satellites, Landsat 8, took pictures of the same snowfall around the Algerian town of Aïn Séfra. Locals spent the day sliding down white dunes before it melted the next day.
Now that pretty much everyone has enjoyed snow, can Spring hurry up and get here? I’ll always love snow, but I didn’t sign up for below zero wind chills when I moved to Alabama.