Geography and climate

Mongolia, enclosed by Russia to the north and China to its east, south, and west, spans over 1.5 million square kilometers. This expanse ranks it as the world’s nineteenth largest nation and the second biggest without oceanic boundaries. Administratively, it’s segmented into three cities and twenty-one provinces known as aimags. Ulaanbaatar, the capital, is its predominant urban hub, housing around 1.3 million residents.

Resting atop a plateau distanced from oceans, Mongolia’s average altitude is about 1.5 kilometers. Such a location endows it with a notably extreme continental climate that oscillates extensively across regions and seasons. The eastern part generally has a lower elevation compared to the Altai mountains towards the west. The apex of Mongolia touches the tri-border point with Russia and China. A journey from the north to the south would transition from Siberian landscapes of forests and lakes to the vast steppe grasslands and mountainous terrains, finally culminating in the Gobi desert.

Predominantly, Mongolia undergoes prolonged frigid winters and brief temperate summers. The winter season is arid, while summer rains are maximal at 380 millimeters in mountainous regions and dip below 50 millimeters in desert zones. Ulaanbaatar’s temperatures in summer, from mid-June to mid-August, can often surpass thirty degrees Celsius, while winter can plunge them to under negative thirty degrees. The intermediate seasons of spring and autumn are erratic; snowfall might be observed as early as June or as late as August. Nonetheless, warmth can also be felt as early as April and extend till October.