Greetings Space Cadets, snow on the edge of the Sahara Desert is rare. On December 19, 2016, snow fell on the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, which is sometimes referred to as the “gateway to the desert.” The town of roughly 35,000 people sits between the Atlas Mountains and the northern edge of the Sahara. The last recorded snowfall in Ain Sefra occurred in February 1979.
The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on the Landsat 7 acquired a natural-colour image of snow in North Africa on December 19, 2016. The scene shows an area near the border of Morocco and Algeria, south of the city of Bouarfa and southwest of Ain Sefra.
The snow fell in a region where summertime temperatures average 37°Celsius (99°Fahrenheit), though wintertime temperatures have been known to get down into the single digits Celsius (30s Fahrenheit). Such moisture is as rare as the cool temperatures, given that just a few centimeters (inches) of precipitation fall here in an entire year.
Photographer Karim Bouchetata has posted a series of photos showing a thin veil of white atop the orange dunes and green vegetation around Ain Sefra.