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Snowy Greece Magic Captured from Space

snow Greece
Chalkida as seen from space in early February. Credit: Twitter/Matthias Maurer/ESA

Snow that now covers Greece was captured by the European Space Agency‘s (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer from the International Space Station in early February.

Maurer took this bird’s eye view of the town of Chalkida, along the Euboean Gulf. He posted to social media, noting, “In keeping with its national colors, wintry Greece presented itself in blue and white.”

Rare snowfall over Greece may be the new normal. For the second year in a row, Greece experienced unprecedented amounts of snow, blanketing the country in white, says ESA.

The severe storm “Elpis” swept across Greece earlier this year, causing mass disruption to the Mediterranean country known more for white-sand beaches and whitewashed homes than sparkly snow.

While hard to deny the beauty of the white and blue landscape of this image, it is a grim reminder of the effects of climate change on the planet, says the ESA — especially when compared to photos of wildfires in Greece in the summer of 2021.

Like satellites watching Earth from above, astronauts are also observers of a rapidly changing Earth. Photos taken by astronauts complement satellite data but also serve another vital role: climate advocacy to the general public, the ESA notes.

Snow brings Greece to a standstill

The snowstorm Elpis, which brought about such a heavy snowfall that Athens came to a standstill, was the worst such storm in the Greek capital in 14 years, according to data from the Hellenic National Meteorological Service.

Elpis caused around 20 cm (7.87 inches) of snow to fall in Athens when it hit the city. The heavy snow, which is quite uncommon for the city, coupled with low temperatures and heavy winds, caused a great many disturbances throughout Athens.

Thousands of motorists were stuck on the Attiki Odos, the major ring road of the city, for hours due to the blizzard, and many areas of the city were left without power.

The Greek islands had also been completely covered in snow in a once-in-a-lifetime weather event. Locals say that the last time this amount of snow fell on the Cyclades was decades ago.

Syros, Naxos, Tinos, Andros, Mykonos, Santorini, and the other islands of the Cyclades were covered in a white veil of snow as the storm hit Greece.

The heavy snowfall has caused many problems in the islands that lack the infrastructure to cope with such weather events.

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