Skip to Content

Snow sprinkles Saharan dunes in white

Snow sprinkled the orange sand dunes of Ain Sefra, northwestern Algeria on Sunday, creating a rare and spectacular sight, more reminiscent of Mars than Earth.

The snowfall was caused by the large cutoff upper low over western Mediterranean, which also influenced northern Algeria. The snow was visible also in satellite imagery, standing out in the orange desert surface.

Report: Crt Sidali, حسام مسعودي, Gian Alonso, Rabah Ripou Ouchen, Issam Bouchetata Bouchetata, ⵯⴰⵍⵉⴷ ⵏⴻⵇⵇⵉⵛ, Amayas Mazigh.

True color image by NASA Terra satellite, MODIS instrument on January 7, showing snow in the region..

False color image by NASA MODIS instrument: clouds (white, orange), water surfaces (black), vegetation (green) and bare soil (cyan-blue).

The snowfall, while rare, has been observed several times in the past decade or so. The area of Ain Sefra is at the southern foot of the Atlas mountains at ~1000 m elevation, the extreme northern limit of the Sahara desert.