NASA Earth Observatory wrote about a rare snow in the Sahara Desert, the world’s third-largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. NASA pointed out it does snow in Africa at high elevations.
…Kilimanjaro has long been crowned by a cap of snow and ice, though it has been shrinking. Skiiers travel for natural and manufactured snow in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria, as well as a few spots in South Africa and Lesotho.
Nonetheless, 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 snow fell in a region where summertime temperatures average 99°Fahrenheit (37° C), though wintertime temperatures have been known to get down into 30s F. (single digits C). Moisture in the Sahara is as rare as the cool temperatures, given that just a few centimeters (inches) of precipitation fall here in an entire year.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.