Saudi Arabia Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Saudi Arabia?

Overview:

Saudi Arabia lies in the area known as the Middle-East the meeting place of the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe. It occupies much of the Arabian Peninsula and has a land area of about 830,000 square miles. The vast uninhabited Empty Quarter, al-Rub'al-Khali, is the largest single body of sand in the world. The principal cultivated areas are in the Asir Highlands in the Southwestern Province and in the Hasa Eastern Province along the Arabian Gulf.

The country is divided administratively into 14 provinces, including the Hijaz, the Asir, the Nejd, Al-Hasa, and the Northern Province, each headed by a governor or emir. The topography varies from vast stretches of sand to rugged mountain ranges. From the Gulf of Aqaba south to Yemen lies a dry, narrow coastal plain bordering the Red Sea. East of the plain, a narrow chain of mountains rises to 9,000 feet. This entire region, traditionally called the Hijaz, is now known as the Western Region. The same mountain chain rises to 12,000 feet and becomes more rugged in the south near Yemen. This portion, known as the Asir, has more rainfall than any other part of the country. Its dense population, villages, terraced farms, and green forests are more reminiscent of Africa than the Desert Kingdom.

The Nejd, the heartland of Saudi Arabia, is the ancestral home of the Al-Saud, the Kingdom’s ruling family. This area contains the heaviest concentration of nomadic Bedouin, who still lead their flocks of sheep, goats, and camels across the land in search of pastures. But the Bedouin are modernizing, and water trucks are now common sights near their tent encampments.

The Eastern Province, Al-Hasa, although largely desert, contains most of the nation's oilfields. Besides oil, two large oases, Qatif and Hofuf, support substantial agricultural production. Most activity and population are centered around the market city of Al-Khobar; Dhahran, site of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO) complex; and the busy port of Dammam.

Geography - note:

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal

Climate:

Riyadh’s climate has a greater difference between winter and summer temperatures than elsewhere in the Kingdom. Riyadh has practically no humidity, making summers especially dry and dusty. Annual rainfall averages 2 to 4 inches, usually concentrated in a few torrential rainfalls in early spring. Winters produce moderate daytime temperatures from November through February. Evenings are sometimes cool enough to require residential heating.

Jeddah, the commercial center, has a tropical climate — mild in winter and hot and very humid in summer. Summer lasts 8 to 10 months, with temperatures moderating in November. Relief from the heat often comes at sunset when sea breezes arrive. Except on the few occasions when it rains, the sun shines daily. Winter is comparable to the spring and summer seasons of resorts on the Mediterranean Sea.

Dhahran’s climate, like that of Jeddah, is very humid, 60% – 90%, with summer lasting from April through October. The average maximum shade temperature in July and August is 110 °F, with "in sun" temperatures up to 150 °F. From December to April, it is cooler and pleasant, with indoor heating required at times, especially in the areas north of Dhahran.

Rainfall in both Jeddah and Dhahran is sparse, about 3 – 4 inches a year concentrated in a few heavy showers during fall and spring.

Saudi Arabia Use of Natural Resources

Saudi Arabia Environment

Climate:

Riyadh’s climate has a greater difference between winter and summer temperatures than elsewhere in the Kingdom. Riyadh has practically no humidity, making summers especially dry and dusty. Annual rainfall averages 2 to 4 inches, usually concentrated in a few torrential rainfalls in early spring. Winters produce moderate daytime temperatures from November through February. Evenings are sometimes cool enough to require residential heating.

Jeddah, the commercial center, has a tropical climate — mild in winter and hot and very humid in summer. Summer lasts 8 to 10 months, with temperatures moderating in November. Relief from the heat often comes at sunset when sea breezes arrive. Except on the few occasions when it rains, the sun shines daily. Winter is comparable to the spring and summer seasons of resorts on the Mediterranean Sea.

Dhahran’s climate, like that of Jeddah, is very humid, 60% – 90%, with summer lasting from April through October. The average maximum shade temperature in July and August is 110 °F, with "in sun" temperatures up to 150 °F. From December to April, it is cooler and pleasant, with indoor heating required at times, especially in the areas north of Dhahran.

Rainfall in both Jeddah and Dhahran is sparse, about 3 – 4 inches a year concentrated in a few heavy showers during fall and spring.

Terrain:

mostly uninhabited, sandy desert

Natural Resources:

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper

Natural Hazards:

frequent sand and dust storms

Irrigated Land:

6,255 Square Miles
16,200 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Saudi Arabia Geography

Geographic Location Middle East
Total Area 829,995 Square Miles
2,149,690 Square Kilometers
Land Area 829,995 Square Miles
2,149,690 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,753 Miles
4,431 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 6,255 Square Miles
16,200 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Iraq 814 km, Jordan 744 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,458 km
Coastline 1,640 Miles
2,640 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 25 00 N, 45 00 E
Terrain mostly uninhabited, sandy desert
Highest Point 3,133 Meters
Highest Point Location Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Lowest Point Location Persian Gulf 0 m
Natural Resources petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Time Zone UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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