NASA image shows it snowing in driest place on earth

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
July 20, 2011



A snowstorm engulfed parts of the driest place on earth this month: the Atacama desert in South America. Images captured by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Terra Satellite show parts of the landscape covered in white.

Although cold Antarctic fronts do bring snowfall from time to time to the Atacama, this is the biggest the desert has seen in 50 years bringing up to 32 inches of snow in places. The average precipitation for the region is 2 inches annually (50 milimeters), though parts of the Atacama see only 1 to 3 millimeters on average every year. Despite this the desert is not wholly lifeless. Plants and animals survive in coastal parts of the desert due to moisture brought in by marine fog.

The Atacama desert lies in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.



the Muenster yellow-toothed cavy
A cold front brought snow to the Atacama desert. Photo courtesy of NASA.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (July 20, 2011).

NASA image shows it snowing in driest place on earth.

http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0720-hance_atacama.html