Last Updated on January 20, 2023
The deserts of Saudi Arabia are not known for their lush greenery, but recent heavy rainfall has caused a shocking transformation in the landscape. Photos and videos circulating on social media show parts of the desert suddenly covered in grass and plants, particularly in the western regions of the country.
The heavy showers that hit the Gulf country in December caused flash floods in Mecca and other areas, but weeks later, the surrounding desert has turned green due to the excess water.
NASA satellite images have even captured the drastic change, showing the once-barren land now covered in vibrant greenery. The transformation is so significant that it can even be seen from space.
Many locals have taken to social media to share photos of the unexpected greenery, with some viewing it as a fulfillment of a Muslim prophecy by Prophet Muhammad.
However, others have pointed out that this is not the first time the desert has experienced outbursts of plant growth and that it is likely a temporary phenomenon.
Despite the temporary nature of the greenery, the sudden change serves as a reminder of the impact of climate change on the region.
Saudi Arabia has actively tried to facilitate plant growth in the desert by drawing water trapped deep in the ground, but the recent growth is not man-made and has been attributed to the excessive rain.
Climate change experts have been quick to point out that the heavy rainfall and resulting greenery in the desert is a direct result of the changing climate.
The Gulf region has been experiencing increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, with heavier rainfalls and more frequent flash floods. The transformation of the desert may be temporary, but it serves as a reminder of the impact of climate change on the region.
Climate Change or Apocalyptic Prophecy?
But for many locals, the sudden greenery in the desert is not just a result of climate change, but a fulfillment of a prophecy made by Prophet Muhammad.
The prophecy, from 1400 years ago, states that “the Last Hour will not come till the land of Arabia reverts to meadows and rivers“.
The appearance of greenery in the desert, a place that is known for its arid climate, is seen as a sign that the end times are near.
This isn’t the first time that the desert in Saudi Arabia has seen outbursts of plant growth. In the past, the government has actively tried to facilitate plant growth in the desert by drawing water trapped deep in the ground.
Green fields capable of growing wheat and other crops started showing up on satellite images in 1991 and have increased dramatically ever since. But this recent vegetation is not man-made and has been blamed on the excessive rain.
The debate around the sudden greenery in the desert will likely continue. While some see it as a sign of the end times, others view it as a temporary phenomenon caused by climate change. But one thing is for certain, the desert in Saudi Arabia has undergone a dramatic transformation and is now a green oasis in the midst of a barren landscape.
Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.