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Geography and climate

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					Geography and climate
Main articles: Geography of Mongolia, Climate of Mongolia, and Mongolian-Manchurian
grassland




The southern portion of Mongolia is taken up by the Gobi Desert, while the northern and western
portions are mountainous.




Bactrian camels by sand dunes in Gobi Desert.

At 1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi),[24] Mongolia is the world's 19th-largest country (after Iran). It
is significantly larger than the next-largest country, Peru. It mostly lies between latitudes 41° and
52°N (a small area is north of 52°), and longitudes 87° and 120°E.

The geography of Mongolia is varied, with the Gobi Desert to the south and with cold and
mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of Mongolia consists of steppes. The highest
point in Mongolia is the Khüiten Peak in the Tavan bogd massif in the far west at 4,374 m
(14,350 ft). The basin of the Uvs Lake, shared with Tuva Republic in Russia, is a natural World
Heritage Site. Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with
January averages dropping as low as −30 °C (−22 °F).[25]

The country is also subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known as zud. The annual
average temperature in Ulan Bator is 0°C, making it the world's coldest capital city.[25] Mongolia
is high, cold, and windy. It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short
summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls. The country averages 257 cloudless
days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure. Precipitation
is highest in the north (average of 200 to 350 millimeters (7.9 to 13.8 in) per year) and lowest in
the south, which receives 100 to 200 millimeters (3.9 to 7.9 in) annually. The highest annual
precipitation of 622.297mm occurred in the forests of Bulgan Province close to the border with
Russia and the lowest of 41.735mm occurred in the Gobi Desert (period 1961-1990).[26] The
sparsely populated far north of Bulgan Province averages 600mm in annual precipitation which
means it receives more precipitation than Beijing (571.8mm) or Berlin (571mm).

The name "Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid
rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmots but with enough to support camels.
Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to
outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily
destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not
even Bactrian camels can survive.

				
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