Is the Sahara Always Hot?

The Sahara is not always hot. The northern African desert can reach below freezing temperatures from December through February due to the desert’s lack of humidity. The desert’s sand dunes also accumulate snow, similar to a mountaintop. Freezing temperatures are not the norm, as the Sahara is typically one of the hottest places on Earth. It used to hold the record for the highest recorded temperature at 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.78 degrees Celsius) in 1922, in Azizia, Libya. However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) disqualified this submission in 2012 as being erroneous. In addition to its harsh temperatures, the Sahara is prone to hurricane level wind speeds that can cause sandstorms. While the desert only receives from half an inch (1.27 cm) to 4 inches (10 cm) of rain per year, it often occurs as torrential downpours.

More about the Sahara Desert:

  • The Sahara Desert is larger than the continental US and accounts for approximately 8% of the entire planet’s land area.

  • Gravel accounts for the majority of the Sahara landscape—sand is only 30%.

  • The Sahara comprises one-quarter of the entire continent of Africa and its name is Arabic for “Great Desert.”

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