Painting Europe’s Snow Orange

Sand from the Sahara in Libya drifts across the Mediterranean Sea on its way to Eastern Europe. (Copernicus Sentinel data processed by the European Space Agency)

(CN) – The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel satellite captured photos this week of what caused snow in Eastern Europe to turn orange: sand from the deserts of North Africa drifting across the Mediterranean Sea.

While the phenomenon surprised skiers, meteorologists say it’s an event that occurs roughly every five years. Sand from storms in the Sahara gets picked up by upper-level winds and deposited across Eastern Europe by rain and snow.

This year’s event reached as far as Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece.

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