Dubai’s Urban Sprawl

In these photographs, NASA satellites capture the explosive growth of Dubai on the Persian Gulf between 2002 and 2008. These false-color thermal images of Dubai — one of the 7 United Arab

Enlarge Image

Explosive Growth in Dubai
Emirates — depict vegetated areas in red, buildings in gray, and the desert in beige. The image at left, taken in October 2002, shows the early stages of construction of Palm Jumeirah, a vast commercial development built by dredging 3.9 billion cubic feet of sand from the gulf and depositing it in the shape of a giant palm tree. The finished look of Palm Jumeirah — which contains shops, hotels, and apartments and is protected from the gulf by 7 miles of rocky breakwater — can be seen in the image at right, taken in November 2008. That recent image also shows the exponential growth of Dubai, a city-state of 1.2 million and a major commercial hub in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region. Just to the east of Palm Jumeirah, the fairways of an irrigated golf course, pictured in red, can be seen.