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Persian Gulf
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Persian Gulf

January 17, 2006
This ASAR WSM image shows an area centered over the Persian gulf, at the time the US troupes were preparing a unilateral massive attack against Iraq, on March 5th, 2003. The gulf is strategically located between Iran on the northeast (upper right corner), the Arabian Peninsula on the southwest (left hand side) and by Iraq and Kuwait on the north (top section). This area contains more than half the worlds proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas, making this region one of the world's hot spot for economic and geopolitical reasons. The world famous Kuwait oil wells, which were set on fire during the first gulf war, can be seen to the north and the south of Kuwait city (white dots). Many ports on the Persian Gulf are involved with the petroleum industry, including Kuwait, Ad Dammam, and Manama; they are clearly visible as large bright areas in the image (west coast of the Persian gulf). Bright patches within the sea indicate ships (tanker, military ships) or offshore oil wells. On the west side of Kuwait city, several white blocks and segments indicates interferences with transmissions that operate at the same frequencies than the ASAR signal (5.331 GHz). On ground electronic instruments may cause these interferences. In the bottom half section of the image, the beginning of the Nadj plateau extending form south to Northwest is clearly visible (white zone). This central plateau region, broken in the east by a series of uplifts (dark grey lines), produces strong backscatter as mainly rocks compose the land. Its eastern limits (west side of Qatar) are delineated by the first sign of the large Rub al Khali desert. This sandy desert produces low backscatter towards the antenna, which results as a dark zone in the image.

Technical Information:
  • Satellite: Envisat
  • Instrument: ASAR
  • Acquisition: 05-Mar-2003
  • Orbit nr: 05292
  • Center coordinates: lat. 27.50, lon. 48.50