Land in Water: The Study of Land Reclamation and Artificial Islands Formation in the UAE Coastal Zone: A Remote Sensing and GIS Perspective

P. Subraelu, Abdel Azim Ebraheem, Mohsen Sherif, Ahmed Sefelnasr, M. M. Yagoub, Kakani Nageswara Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The United Arab Emirate’s rapid population growth is coupled with an increase in the consumption of natural resources such as fresh air, sunlight, land, and water. In the past two decades, the demand for land has augmented both away from the coast and significantly near the coast. Within coastal zones, artificial reclamation of land in the sea is the most desirable way to meet the demand for land necessary for the development of the most modern urban areas. Seaward reclamation (land in the water) necessitates the construction of artificially reclaimed areas that are extended into the sea using innovative modern construction techniques. The majority of these building requirements are necessitated by a number of key factors and have diverse outcomes. Even though this type of urban expansion is not new, the scale and motivations of land reclamation have been drastically altered due to geological and human-induced factors. The purpose of this paper is to assess the increase in seaward land expansion, particularly in the seven UAE coastal emirates. Using satellite data, particularly from 1990 to 2021, the total increase in land due to newly developed reclaimed areas in all UAE coastal emirates is calculated. Satellite images from the Landsat series are used to analyze the tremendous growth since the early 2000s. In addition, the study of shoreline maps of 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2021 for the seven emirates revealed that the 22 km long Ajman and UAQ front coast experienced a notable shoreline retreat with a net erosion area of 300 m2 and an annual rate of 30 my−1 over the past 21 years (2000–2021). Depending on the type of construction design used to describe the process, a methodical sorting is also recommended. The impacts of the Dubai offshore reclaimed islands on the adjacent coastlines in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain (UAQ), as well as the potential impact of earthquake tremors along the Zagros fold belt region, are the subjects of this study. In this study, all seven coastal emirates are considered, and the largest reclamation projects are located in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras-Al Khaimah (RAK), and Fujairah, with Dubai leading the way; it has expanded its coastal areas by more than 68 km2 at present, and another 35 km2 will be reclaimed soon to finish Palm Deira.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2024
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • GIS
  • UAE shoreline
  • artificial reclamation of islands
  • coastal emirates
  • geoengineered shorelines
  • geospatial analysis
  • land use/land cover
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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