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.
- 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.