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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS030-E-90918 Date: Feb. 2012
Geographic Region: SAUDI ARABIA
Feature: WADI AS-SIRHAN, CENTER PIVOT AGRICULTURE, TUBARJAL

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  Agricultural Fields, Wadi As-Sirhan Basin, Saudi Arabia

Northern Saudi Arabia hosts some of the most extensive sand and gravel deserts in the world, but modern agricultural technology has changed the face of some of them. This astronaut photograph, taken from the International Space Station presents the almost surreal image of abundant green fields in the midst of a barren desert – specifically the Wadi As-Sirhan Basin of northwestern Saudi Arabia. As recently as 1986 there was little to no agricultural activity in the area, but over the subsequent 26 years agricultural fields have been steadily developed, largely as a result of investment of oil industry revenues by the Saudi government.

The fields use water pumped from subsurface aquifers and is distributed in rotation about a center point within a circular field – a technique known as center-pivot agriculture. This technique affords certain benefits relative to more traditional surface irrigation such as better control of water use and application of fertilizers. The use of this so-called “precision agriculture” is particularly important in regions subject to high evaporative water loss; by better controlling the amount and timing of water application, evaporative losses can be minimized. Crops grown in the area include fruits, vegetables, and wheat.

For a sense of scale, agricultural fields in active use (dark green) and fallow (brown to tan), are approximately 1 kilometer in diameter. While much of the Wadi As-Sirhan Basin shown here is sandy (light tan to brown surfaces) and relatively flat, low hills and rocky outcrops (dark gray) of underlaying sedimentary rocks are visible at image left and image right.
 
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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 257k
Mission: ISS030  
Roll - Frame: E - 90918
Geographical Name: SAUDI ARABIA  
Features: WADI AS-SIRHAN, CENTER PIVOT AGRICULTURE, TUBARJAL  
Center Lat x Lon: 30.0N x 38.5E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
 
Camera: N2
 
Camera Tilt: 40   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 65  
 
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: W   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
 
Date: 20120221   YYYYMMDD
Time: 121021   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 30.4N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 41.3E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 230   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 202   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 34   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: BASIN, DESERT  
Water Views:  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views: AGRICULTURE  
City Views:  
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