Ultra-rare Snowfall in Baghdad

In the morning, I woke up with the alarm as usual to be ready on time for the office. The duty times starts from 8.00 a.m. in Baghdad. I checked the time and it was mentioned that the temperature then was minus 1 degree Celsius but feeling like minus 4 degrees Celsius. It was mentioned “Snow Rain”. I jumped out of the bed; wrapped me with woollen and rushed out to the balcony.

Yes, it’s snowing! It was a sight not seen in over a decade — the city covered in snow.


I made tea for me to warm myself up. As the the daylight started breaking, the site became all the more amazing.

The city’s iconic palm trees were daintily outlined in white. The cars parked on the road were covered in a thin layer of fresh snow.


Snow in Iraq is commonly seen in the northern part of the country, particularly in the mountainous areas.


I remember when the city witnessed snowfall for the first time in over 100 years, but it was a quick and mostly slushy affair. It was Friday, January 11, 2008 and my first winter in Iraq. By the way, the date today is 11, again. Coincidence!


Arabic historians’ records chronicle life in Baghdad in the Middle Ages, and some of the reports mention the area’s climate. The researchers were shocked by the number of references to cold periods in this notoriously hot and dry region. The scientists have interpreted them, and found some surprising meteorological events in the areas now known as Iraq and Syria. The Arabic historians also recounted droughts, floods, heavy rains and frost, not a common occurrence in the fertile crescent.


For instance, an entry from December 23, 908, noted when “four fingers of snow accumulated on the roofs,” and another, on November 25, 1007, that the snow reached somewhere between 30 and 50 inches. One particularly odd event was in July 920, when it was too cold for people to sleep on their roofs, as they did on most summer nights. This temperature drop could have been caused by a volcanic eruption the previous year, the researchers speculate. (Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

The Guagua Pichincha volcano in Ecuador erupted around 910, and the Ceboruco volcano in Mexico erupted around 930. Eruptions like that have been shown to affect global temperatures.

According to Iraqi Meteorological Organization, the country is exposed to a cold polar air mass, which reached its climax on Tuesday. Weather forecasts indicate that the air mass will cover all the Iraqi soil, causing a sharp drop in temperatures.


I checked the temperature in the afternoon. It was 6 degrees Celsius but feeling like 3! It is an extremely rare phenomenon for one of the world’s hottest countries. The wind was very cold and dry. Will it snow again tomorrow? 🤔

6 thoughts on “Ultra-rare Snowfall in Baghdad

    1. Thanks, Aro. Warming causes more moisture in the air which leads to more extreme precipitation events. There are no easy answers to the question of climate change and snow. Scientists broadly agree that snow will change in most places as the climate continues to warm. But exactly how and why, from one location to the next, may be among the most challenging questions about weather and climate change. I don’t think yesterday’s incident of snowing has any connection to the “Global Warming”. Baghdad has seen occasional snows 1000 years ago, also. Of course, I am not a climatologist. 😉


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