Saudi Arabia’s fragile desert and coastal environments will now get “help from above,” thanks to an initiative by a group of Saudi Arabian and European partners (GAF AG and e-GEOS) who have completed a project to implement and provide satellite-based environmental information products and services to the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The project will involve satellite monitoring of all areas of the Kingdoms environmental structure “Land – Air – Coast – Marine” and is based on similar projects conducted in Europe in GMES for “Global Monitoring for Environment and Security” programs. They’ll be watching for oil spills, and more.
As we explored in the past, Saudi Arabia has a number of potentially serious environmental issues, including those involving damage inflicted to coral reefs and other marine life habitats.
Another issue involves loss of desert sand due to building demands by mega-construction projects in the UAE and other regional areas; and especially in dealing with environmental problems caused by 3+ million pilgrims to the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Throughout the last decades the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed rapid development in its economy, industry and population. Environmental awareness is recently growing and becoming significant in all areas of daily life. By use of satellite observation the PME will be better able to design and undertake a range of Earth observation based products and services for the Kingdom, including:
Nationwide image maps, land use/cover mapping and monitoring
Air quality monitoring and forecasting services – designed and developed by DLR
The demonstration of oil spill detection and monitoring in the Red Sea – designed and developed by e-GEOS, a satellite monitoring project created as a joint venture between Telespazio and the Italian Space Agency.
e-GEOS provides high quality satellite imaging of various parts of the world, including the Dubai island development projects, now said to be threatening the coastal environment of the entire Persian Gulf region, and the recent 8.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile.
GAF AG, an e-GEOS company, is globally active and has an international reputation as a competent provider of project design, management and implementation services in the fields of geo-information, satellite remote sensing and spatial IT consultancy to private and public clients.
By being able to both map and monitor various environmental “hot spots” in and around Saudi Arabia, the PME will be better able to deal with these areas and find solutions to make them more environmentally friendly – including the problem of bussing so many pilgrims to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina during the Hajj.
Want more? Read Green Prophet’s articles on Saudi Arabia environmental issues:
Saudi Arabia to Replace Oil with Solar Energy for Desalination Plants
Saudi Arabia Seeks to Join International Renewable Energy Group IRENA
DOW Chemical and Saudi Arabia’s KAUST University Vow to Clean up Environment