Snowfall in the Sahara Desert.

29 January 2022.


World’s largest desert, The Sahara Desert, witnessed snowfall recently.


  • Snowfall in Sahara Desert was a rare event.
  • Snow settled on the sand and ice covered the sand dunes, after temperatures dropped below freezing point.
  • Temperatures as high as 58 degrees Celsius, have been recorded there.

Snowfall in Ain-Sefra

  • The town of Ain-Sefra is located in Naama province of north-western Algeria.
  • It is known as “The Gateway to the Sahara”.
  •  It is surrounded by Atlas Mountains and is located at around 3,000 feet above sea level.
  • Sand dunes in this area can be as high as 180 metres.
  • It also witnesses water scarcity.
  •  Recently, temperatures reached to -2 degrees Celsius in the town, resulting into snowfall.

Previous instances of snowfall

  • This is not the first time it snowed in the Sahara Desert.
  • In last 42 years, snowfall occurred for the fifth time.
  •  Earlier, the region witnessed snowfall 1979, 2016, 2018, and 2021. 
  •  Each year, the amount of snowfall was different.
  •  In 1979, there was a snowstorm.
  •  On the other hand, in 2018, it received 40 cm of snowfall.

What are the reasons of snowfall in Sahara Desert?

  • In the month of January, temperatures are much milder in Ain-Sefra region. Temperatures can be around 14 degrees Celsius.
  • Climate crisis and Arctic warming could be responsible for this rare event.

The Sahara Desert

  • The Sahara Desert is located in African continent.
  • It covers an area of 9,200,000 square kilometres.
  •  It is the largest hot desert of the world and third largest desert overall, after deserts of Antarctica and northern Arctic.
  • It comprises much of North Africa, excluding fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, Nile Valley and Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb.

History of Sahara Desert

  • For many years, the Sahara has alternated between Savanna grassland and desert, in a 20,000-year cycle.
  • This is due to precession of Earth’s axis as it rotates across the Sun.
  • Rotation across the Sun changes the location of North African monsoon.

Geographical extent

  • The Sahara covers parts of Algeria, Egypt, Chad, Mali, Libya, Niger, Mauritania, Sudan, Morocco, Western Sahara, and Tunisia.
  • It covers an area of 9 million square kilometres, accounting for 31% of Africa.

Posted by

Author and Educator

Leave a Reply