The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Brief
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is situated between the Red Sea in the west and the Arabian Gulf in the east. It is bounded on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, and on the south by the Yemeni Republics (north and south), and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. The total area of the Kingdom is 2,240,000 square kilometers. The length of the western coast from Al-Aqaba to Meedi is approximately 1100 miles, and the eastern coast from Ras Mishab to Qatar is 300 miles. The length of the boundaries from Al-Aqaba to Ras Mishab is 850 miles, and from Meedi to the Arabian Gulf is 880 miles.
The Geographical Features
A coastal plain extends the length of the Red Sea, the width varying from one region to the other; about 40 miles in the north, drops to about 30 miles in the south from Jizan to Al-Laith and down to 10 miles at AI-Wajh. It almost disappears at the Gulf of Al-Aqaba. This coastal plain is called as Al-Tahaim, or Tihama AI-Hijaz, Asir and Yemen, where there are several wide salt marshes.
The height of the mountain chain, starting in the south of Asir, is 9000 feet, and drops to 8000 feet west of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, and continues down to 4000 feet around Mahd Al-Dhahab. It continues to descend to 3000 feet at Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah and then maintains that same height northward.
Directly to the east of this mountain range, the plateau of the Najd extends to a height of between four to six thousand feet, and finally drops to two thousand feet at AI-Dahnaa in the east. To the south are the Najd Heights with Wadi AI-Dawasir, then the desert of the Empty Quarter.
On the north, the plains of the Najd extend about 900 miles to the borders of Iraq and Jordan. There are several mountain regions in the Najd such as the areas of Al-Aridh and Al-Owairedh and the mountains of Aja and Salma. The Tuwaiq Chain extends from the south-west to the north-west of Al-Nufud (all sand and desert) which are sand dunes that intersperse the country from the Empty Quarter on its eastern and western sides to the north where they join, and are called Al-Nufud AI-Kabeer. These Nufuds are dry, untrodden areas that form fertile areas after the rainy seasons. The Najd is also rich in saltflats that had formed an inland sea during old geological times. From the east side of Al-Dahnaa, the height of the land drops gradually to the sea level along the Arabian Gulf, where there are the Kingdom’s main petroleum fields.
There is a sub-tropical climate along the western coast of the Kingdom, facing the Red Sea. It is characterized by warm summers and high humidity, but it is moderate in winter with scattered rains between November and February. The central region has relatively hot, dry summers and dry, cool winters, with occasional cold waves due to the Najd mountains. The climate of the eastern region resembles that of the central region except for the high level of humidity during the summer due to its coastal position on the Arabian Gulf.