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Taklimakan Desert Receives Rare Snowfall

Detailed Description

Landsat 9 captured a rare snowfall in China’s Taklimakan Desert on January 18, 2023. This image uses the shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red bands (B 6|5|4) to highlight the stark contrast between the desert sand and the snow-covered dunes. The sand appears reddish, while the snow is blue.

Taklimakan lies in the Northwest part of the country and lies in the shadow of the Himalayas, creating a cold desert climate. The desert is characterized by sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and sparse vegetation, and receives very little precipitation throughout the year. Annual temperatures are extreme ranging from -4°F in the winter to 104°F in the summer. Snowfall in the Taklimakan Desert is extremely rare, with the first recorded instance occurring in 2008 when the desert received four centimeters of snow.


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