Stunning images show the Sahara desert covered in snow

Stunning images show the Sahara desert covered in snow

It seems as if many of us are suffering from freezing temperatures this winter. While it's part and parcel of the season to complain about how damn cold it is, this year really has taken freezing to the next level. It's all well and good if you can crank the heating up, hide under a blanket, and eat some soup in the evening, but getting to work or (god forbid) going for a run is hard to even think about.

New York City has seen some harsh times, with a deadly winter storm causing havoc at airports and leaving many of its citizens dreading heading out into the 10 inches of snow, high winds, and record-breaking low temperatures. Winter Storm Grayson, battering the east coast, has seen the sea freeze in Cape Cod and even Niagara Falls ice over.

The cold we're seeing in 2018 has brought snow to even the most unlikely of places. For example, even the Sahara Desert has seen some snow.

In the town of Ain Sefra, in Algeria, photographer Karim Bouchetata captured the rare sight of snow on the sand dunes. Snow started falling in the early hours of Sunday morning, giving the town an inch or two of snow but the nearby dunes more than 15 inches. This is only the third time in 27 years that this region has had snow. Bouchetata told The Express:

"We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again. It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5pm".

sahara desert snow Credit: Karim Bouchetata

The town, which is often referred to as 'The Gateway to the Desert', had deep snow in December 2016, which caused chaos in a region that wasn't used to such weather. The snow continued through to January 2017, with enough for the local children to make snowmen and sledge down the dunes, and this year the snow is even deeper.

sahara desert snow Credit: Karim Bouchetata

Before these occurrences, the last time snow was seen in this region was on February 18 1979, in which the snowfall lasted for barely half an hour. "Cold air was pulled down south in to North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe," a spokesperson for the Met Office recently commented. "The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal".

sahara desert snow Credit: Karim Bouchetata

Ain Sefra is around 1,000 metres above sea level, a region surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. It's normally six to 12°C enduring the January period, so it's extremely rare to see temperatures even remotely this low. In the summer the town has to endure temperatures as high as 37°C.

While this seems to simply be a rare sight unlikely for many to see in their lifetimes, the Sahara Desert has gone through many shifts in temperature over the past hundreds of thousands of years. In 15,000 years, some scientists believe it may transform from a dry desert to lush greenery.