The Mongolian People's Republic is a large but very sparsely populated country in the heart of Asia. It is a landlocked country, bordered by Russia on the north and China on the south.
With an area of 1,565,000 sq km/604,000 sq mi, it is almost three times the size of France yet it has a population of a little over a million. In the west and north there are mountains rising to over 3,000 m/10,000 ft but there are extensive areas of flat or undulating plains which are desert in the south and steppe grassland in the north and east.
Mongolia has an extreme continental type of climate similar to that of south-central Siberia or Manchuria. Winters are long and very cold. There is a swift transition in April to a short, warm summer and an equally rapid return to the winter cold in October.
Rainfall everywhere is low; probably no more than 375 mm/15in-500 mm/20 in a year in the mountains and as little as 125 mm/5 in in the drier lowland parts. Winter is almost entirely dry, with occasional light snow, except in the western mountains where snow is heavier.
The wetter parts receive almost all their precipitation between June and September when moist air is able to penetrate the interior under the influence of the Chinese summer monsoon.
The table for Ulaanbaatar shows conditions over much of the country, but southern Mongolia receives even less rain.
Conditions during the short summer are quite pleasant, but during the long, cold winter very warm clothing is required and, when strong winds arise, wind chill can be very severe. On many days during the winter, however, winds are light, the sky is clear and there is abundant sunshine.
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