Just enough snow fell in the Sahara to be visible from space

Snow fell in the Sahara desert this week, temporarily transforming the red, arid hills and mountains outside of Aïn Séfra, Algeria, into a silky white landscape.

Snow is the region isn’t unheard of—there was a similar accumulation in late 2016. (Prior to that, the last significant recorded snowfall was 1979.) This week, when photographers captured the brief snowfall in person, some of the best images came from satellites.

Imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 shows the snowfall as of Jan. 8, in the context of a wider view of the area. These are cropped portions of much larger image available to view on NASA’s website.

The town of Aïn Séfra, wedged between two mountains in Algeria, as seen from space (NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens)
The snow near Aïn Séfra. (NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens)
Another view of the snow near Aïn Séfra.. (NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens)

Additionally, NASA overlayed their color imagery over a topographical model, producing a virtual pilot’s eye view of the mountains from above.

A virtual flyover. (NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens)
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