Overall risks from climate-related impacts are evaluated based on the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability of communities (susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to adapt), and exposure of human and natural systems. Changes in both the climate system and socioeconomic processes -including adaptation and mitigation actions- are drivers of hazards, exposure, and vulnerability (IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014).

Saudi Arabia is at risk to several natural hazards, including floods, sand and dust storms, and drought.

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.


Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.



Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals. 

This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.

Key Vulnerabilities
  • Heavy rainfall in Saudi Arabia sometimes results in flash floods. The country receives intense rainfall especially in the mountainous southwestern region, which tends to flood seasonal water courses
  • Future climate scenarios indicate an increase in the length of dry periods, and high aridity, rapidly depleting groundwater reserves, and projected temperature increases indicate that water stress is bound to increase. Greater rainfall variability may also result in prolonged droughts.
  • Sand and dust storms are frequent mainly due to the country’s desert soils and landscape. High winds carrying sand and dust rise into the air forming clouds that often reduce visibility to zero. These storms disrupt transport and communication and increase respiratory health-related diseases. They also contribute to the spread of desertification by transporting and depositing sand and sediments, which destroy crops, natural habitats and infrastructure.

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Increased demand for water for agricultural production.
  • Increased soil degradation from excessive evapotranspiration and seawater inundation.
  • Increased flooding within coastal regions due to sea level rise.