Egypt is known for its warm and sunny weather, but in 2013 snow fell in Egypt and the pyramids were covered in snow. Snowfall in Egypt is a rare occurrence and has not occurred since 2013. Climate change can result in unusual weather patterns and extreme weather events, including rare snowfall in regions that do not typically experience it. As the Earth’s average temperature continues to rise, we may see more instances of unusual weather patterns and extreme weather events, including unexpected snowfall. The snowfall in 2013 was so rare that the last recorded snowfall in Egypt before that was over 100 years ago.
Snow is rare in Egypt particularly near the pyramids because of its location in the Northern Hemisphere near the equator. The country has a hot desert climate with very little precipitation, and temperatures are generally warm to hot throughout the year. This means that the conditions required for snow, such as low temperatures and moist air, are not commonly present in Egypt. Additionally, the high-pressure system over the Sahara Desert inhibits the formation of clouds, reducing the likelihood of snow even further.
While snow can make for great photos such as of the pyramids in Egypt, it can also have dangerous impacts, especially in parts of the Middle East where snow is uncommon. The current situation faced by refugees, rural workers living in poverty, and urban dwellers highlights the severe consequences that short-term weather events can have on long-standing problems. The vulnerability of makeshift shelters during snowstorms would not be a concern if adequate housing had been provided to refugees over the past decade. Baghdad would not be so freezing if the government had taken action to repair the failing electricity network, and individuals would not be forced to burn household items in Lebanon if the country were not plagued by corruption and poor management.
Globally, the rise of extreme weather conditions such as storms, floods, snow, and drought, which the Middle East experienced in 2021, should serve as a wake-up call to address the ongoing climate crisis.
Although snow is a rare and exciting occurrence in the region, from Egypt to Iraq, it is important to remember that in areas surrounded by snowy mountains, people who were already struggling may now face even greater challenges. These individuals deserve all the support and assistance they can receive.