Snow covers the Algerian desert as the temperature drops

A photographer has captured beautiful images of how snow covered sand dunes in the Sahara Desert as the temperature dropped dramatically. The ice created stunning patterns, however, there probably wasn’t enough to build a life-size snowman or igloo yet, The Metro reported.

The area is best known for its hot, dry climate – but very rarely is this striking sight seen.

Karim Bouchetata took the photos near the town of Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria on January 20, where temperatures fell to -2°C. The area is around 1,000 meters above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, so it has seen snow on occasion before.

Even then, however, the phenomenon is rare – with just five snowfalls in the past 24 years in 1979, 2016, 2018 and 2021.

Ain Sefra is known as “the gateway to the desert”. The Sahara Desert covers most of North Africa and has undergone changes in temperature and humidity over the past hundreds of thousands of years. Most of the time the desert is much warmer with an average daytime temperature of 38°C – and a record high of over 50°C.

Snow is very rare in the desert because there is usually not enough water in the air for it, although it can get very cold at night.