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The most noticeable land change in these Landsat images is simply the addition of land itself. In Bahrain, a nation of 36 islands in the Middle East, the sea is shallow enough along the northern and eastern coast to make the addition of land relatively inexpensive.

The main Bahrain Island is about 990 square kilometers; however, it took less than two decades for the coastal zone of Bahrain to increase by about 40 square kilometers. All of this added land is dredged from the seabed in massive land reclamation projects.

Besides the large land additions, an obvious increase in urban areas dominates the images. Bahrain’s 1970 population was 213,000; in 2014 it was estimated to be 1,316,000. The country’s urban extent doubled between 1987 and 2013.


Every picture has a story to tell
Sept. 3, 1972, Landsat 1 (path/row 175/42) — Bahrain
Aug. 1, 1987, Landsat 5 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Nov. 2, 1992, Landsat 5 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Aug. 15, 2001, Landsat 7 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Sept. 15, 2015, Landsat 8 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Sept. 10, 2019, Landsat 8 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Sept. 15, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Sept. 2, 2022, Landsat 8 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain
Sept. 5, 2023, Landsat 8 (path/row 163/42) — Bahrain


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Bahrain Airport Company, 2015, Bahrain Airport Company, Web site at (Accessed April 22, 2015.)

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Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, 2014, Investigating Land Use and Land Cover Change in Bahrain—1987–2013: New York, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 22 p., available online at (Accessed April 22, 2015.)

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Noor Al-Nabi, Mohammad, 2012, The History of Land use and Development in Bahrain: Bahrain, Information Affairs Authority, 345p.

Zainal, K., Al-Madany, I., Al-Sayad, H., Khamis, A., Al Shuhaby, S., Al Hisaby, A., Elhoussiny, W., and Khalaf, E., 2012, The cumulative impacts of reclamation and dredging on the marine ecology and land-use in the Kingdom of Bahrain: Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 64, no. 7, p. 1452–1458. (Also available online at

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