Geography of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Geography at A Glance:

​​​​​​​​Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian peninsula, and located in the southwest corner of Asia, the kingdom is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is surrounded by the Red Sea in the west, by Yemen and Oman in the south, the Arabian gulf and the United Arab Emirates ​​and Qatar in the east, and Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait in the north.

Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastline stretches about 1,760 kilometers (1,100 miles) while its Arabian gulf coastline is roughly 560 kilometers (350 miles). It is comprised of Tihama narrow plains on the shore of the Red Sea, and to the east is the mountain ranges and chains of Hijaz and Assir, and their highest peaks are above two thousand meters. 

To their east comes deserts and rocky plateaus in the  center amounting to 90% of the total area, with Al Nufud as the largest desert in the north and Al Rub' Al Khali desert in the south. In the east and along the coastline of the Arabian gulf are wide coastal plains.

Climate:

Almost the entire kingdom is arid, although there is rainfall in the north and along the mountain range to the west, especially in the far southwest, which receives the monsoon rains in summer. Sporadic rain may also occur elsewhere, sometimes very heavy causing serious flooding, including in Riyadh, where the air and prevailing winds usually tend to be very dry​.

Diverse terrain and its features gifted the kingdom with diverse climate that varies from one region to the other. Although kingdom's terrain is affected by tropical high-pressure phenomena, its climate generally is continental, hot in summer and cold in winter and rainfall occurs mostly in winter. Western and southwestern heights feature moderate climate while the central regions has hot dry summer and cold dry winter. 

Temperature and humidity rises while rainfalls in winter and in spring in the coastal areas, still the rainfall is comparatively scarce in most of the regions of the kingdom, except for the southwestern region where the rainfall is seasonal in summers and heavier.  Most of the year, the humidity relatively increases in western coasts and heights and decreases inwards.

Area:

Kingdom's total area is estimated at 2,149,790 square kilometers, which is almost 4/5 th of the Arabian peninsula.

Population:

27,019,731 million (2006 census).

Capital:

Riyadh is the capital city, with a population of 4,700,000 million.

Notable Features:

As a result of kingdom's vast area, consecutive geological developments and huge climate changes occurs, kingdom is distinguished by its diverse terrain and topography. Given all of these one will find mountainous heights, uplands and plateaus, plains, valleys and sand dunes. All along the Red Sea there is the coastal plains of Tihama that is about one kilometers long and 60 kilometers wide in the south and narrower when heading north towards the gulf of Aqaba.

To the east of these plains comes the Sarawat, a chain of mountains of high altitude where their height ranges between 9000 feets at their south but decrease gradually when heading to their north to reach 3000 feets. Several wide valleys descend from these mountains, towards the east and the west like the valleys of Jazan, Najran, Tathlith, Bishah, Al Himdh, Al Rimmah, Yanbu' and Fatimah.

In eastwards these chains followed by Najd plateau and its heights that ends in the west by Al Dahnaa dunes and Al Summan desert and in south by the area punctuated by Wadi Al Dawasir and adjacent to the Al Rub' Al Khali desert. Plains of Najd continues northwards to Ha'il region until it connects with Al Nufud desert and with the borders of Iraq and Jordan, and features some mountainuous heights including the mountains Tuwaiq, Al Aaridh and Aja and Salma.

Al Rub' Al Khali is the vast desert area making the Southeastern part of the kingdom with about 640,000 square kilometers including sand dunes and marshes. The coastal eastern plains amounting to 610 kilometers hosts several salty marshes and sandy regions.

References (websites) :

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