Qatif is a coastal oasis region located on the western shore of the Persian Gulf between longitude 50 and latitude 26.32. It has a vital significance in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and occupies 160km2 (99.419m2).
Qatif is consisted of twenty villages, towns and cities which all of their population is estimated to be about 474.572 in 2004/ 1425AH.
Some of its town and villages are AlTaubi, AlKhuwailidiya, Darin, AlMalahha, AlJish, Umm AlSahik, Abu Ma’en, AlJaroudiya, Hellat Muhaish, Umm AlHamam, AlBahari, AlNabiya, Sanabis, AlRabi’eyah, Tarout, Saihat, Safwa, Enak, AlQudaih, AlAwamiyah and Alwjam.
Qatif oasis is three meters above the sea level and it’s gradually gets higher towards the inside until it reaches 10-20 m above the sea level in the western parts of the oasis.
Although Qatif is a flat costal plain and considered an important agricultural area in the Eastern Province, it contains some rock protrusions that may rise to two meters above the land. Therefore, the region shows three natural features; sea, mountain and desert which is usually consisted of yellow sand hills move from a place to another by the wind.
In fact, the land area of Qatif declined over the years because of the creeping desert sands towards its farms and political conditions and insecurity in the past which lead people to get inside cities and villages for protection.
Qatif region is known for its natural headsprings that were over three-hundred; therefore, it was called the amphibious oasis. People used to depend on them for irrigating their farms before they were vanished due to the establishment of water supply networks.
Because Qatif is located on the west coast of the Persian Gulf and surrounded by arid deserts from all sides, its climate is characterized with extreme heat and humidity in the summer; the heat may reach 49 oC (120.2 oF) while the humidity may reach 90%. In winter, the weather becomes temperate and the average winter temperature range is 19-7 oC (66.2-44.6 oF).
Moreover, the region encounters a warm monsoon loaded with dust during May and February. Although this monsoon bothers people but they wait for it every year because it contributes in ripening dates.
In winter, the annual precipitation is usually sparse and rain may rarely fall in November and December. And sometimes destroys agricultural crops.
AlAhssa, which is the biggest oasis in the world, is located in the southeast of Saudi Arabia within 17-26 latitudes and 48-55 longitudes. It occupies a vast area which is estimated with 534,000 km2.
It is a flat land rises 150m above the sea level and inclines unevenly towards the north and east. AlAhssa is known for its amazing native nature and it includes different terrains like sand plains, marshes, tablelands, caves as well as a costal plain extends from AlUqair Gulf on the north to Salwa on the south.
Moreover, AlAhssa is rich with cool and warm headsprings and sulfuric waters; it includes more than thirty headsprings which agricultural area used to depend on before establishing water supply networks.
Statistics indicates that population in AlAhssa is more than a million distributed in four main cities; AlHofuf, AlTuaitheer, AlMubaraz, AlOyoun as well as more than forty villages like AlBataliya, AlRemailah, AlOmran, AlFudhool, AlHuta, AlUqair, Salwa, AlGarah, AlShahareen and others.
In summer, the weather in AlAhssa is hot and arid while in winter it is cold and rainy. The heat temperature in summer may reach up to 53 oC (127.4 oF) whereas in winter it may get down to 6 oC (42.8 oF). Mostly, the weather is clear but there is annual rainfall in autumn. Sometimes, the region subjects sandstorms as in Qatif.
Generally, the geographical features of this region has changed due to the operations of filling up the shores in order to increase the urbanized area for population such as connecting Qatif oasis with Tarout Island which used to be secluded with about three miles.