Qatar Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Qatar?

Overview:

A sovereign Arab State on the western shore of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar occupies a 4,200-square-mile peninsula as well as several small offshore islands. The Qatar Peninsula projects north into the Gulf for about 100 miles and has a maximum width of about 55 miles.  The land is mainly flat (the

highest point

is 103 meters) and rocky. Notable features include coastal

salt

pans, elevated limestone formations (the Dukhan anticline)

along

the west coast under which lies the Dukhan oil field, and

massive

sand dunes surrounding Khawr al Udayd, an inlet of the

gulf in

the southeast known to local English speakers as the

Inland Sea.

 Of the islands belonging to Qatar, Halul is the most

important.

Lying about ninety kilometers east of Doha. A permanently settled island, is an important storage center and tanker terminal for three offshore oil fields. Hawar and the adjacent islands

immediately off

the west coast are the subject of a territorial dispute

between

Qatar and Bahrain.

The capital, Doha, is located on the central east coast

on a

sweeping (if shallow) harbor. Other ports include Umm

Said, Al

Khawr, and Al Wakrah. Only Doha and Umm Said are capable

of

handling commercial shipping, although a large port and a

terminal for loading natural gas are planned at Ras

Laffan, north

of Al Khawr. Coral reefs and shallow coastal waters make

navigation difficult in areas where channels have not been

dredged.



In the south at the neck of the peninsula, Qatar borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, the Saudi capital, lies 250 miles due west beyond the Jafura Desert.

The port of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is about 150 nautical miles southeast. The vast Rub' al-Khali Desert, one of the largest and driest deserts in the world, lies below Abu Dhabi and extends to Qatar's southern border.



The nearest seaward neighbor is Bahrain to the north. Although Bahrain's capital, Manama, is 100 miles from Doha, only 20 miles separate the two countries at the narrowest part of the channel that runs between them into the Gulf of Salwa.



The eastern (Iranian) shore of the Gulf is 120 miles beyond Qatar's northern tip. The nearest Iranian port, Busheir, lies about 250 miles east of Doha. The Iraqi port of Basra, on the northern shore of the Gulf, is 350 miles away. The southern Strait of Hormuz, 310 miles from Doha, provides access to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Thus, Qatar occupies a central position in the Arabian Gulf.



The overall outline of the peninsula was not defined on European maps until well into the 19th century, though Karsten Niebugh briefly described the peninsula in his Voyage en Arabie, published in Switzerland in 1780. The historical appearance of Qatari place-names on European maps suggests strongly that, until recent times, international navigators were familiar only with the northern end of the country and the eastern pearling banks.



Qatar's terrain is monotonously flat, except for the Dukhan anticline in the west and some low rock outcroppings at the northern end of the east coast. Blown sand covers much of the south, and shifting dunes predominate in the southeast. The Dukhan anticline rises from the west coast as a chain of separate hills of up to 325 feet in height, about 35 miles long and 3-5 miles wide, covering the country's onshore oil fields.



Natural vegetation, including semipermanent pasture, is limited to areas surrounding wells, depressions, and short drainage courses active only after the winter rains. Most flora is confined to the northern half of the country. Elsewhere only sparse patches of camel thorn and isolated datepalm plantations relieve the featureless terrain.



The coastline is uneven and rises gently on both sides of the peninsula. Sandy reefs abound in the surrounding shallows. Extensive salt flats at the landward end of the peninsula, between Salwa on the west coast and Khor al-Odeid in the east, support the local belief that Qatar was once an island, separated from what is now the Saudi Province of al-Hasa.

Geography - note:

strategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits

Climate:

Qatar lies outside the area of the annual monsoons. Its seasons are similar to those of the Temperate Zone, although usually much hotter. The winter months from December through February are cool. Intense heat persists at least from May through September. March, April, October, and November normally provide the most agreeable climatic conditions. Average humidity ranges from 32% during the cooler months to highs of 96% and 100% during late summer and early fall. Rainfall is usually very light and averages less than 3 inches per year, mostly in the winter months. Almost no rain falls from May through October. Frequent high winds, especially from March through August, can fill the air with fine dust and create a brownish haze on the horizon. The prevailing desert wind, known as shemal, comes from the north during the spring and summer months. In late summer, when the shemal dies, the humidity rises.

The long summer (June through September) is characterized by intense heat and alternating dryness and humidity, with temperatures exceeding 55° C. Temperatures are moderate from November through May, although winter temperatures may fall to

17° C, which is relatively cool for the latitude. Rainfall is negligible, averaging 100 millimeters per year, confined to the winter months, and falling in brief, sometimes heavy storms that often flood the small ravines and the usually dry wadis.

Sudden, violent dust storms occasionally descend on the peninsula, blotting out the sun, causing wind damage, and momentarily disrupting transport and other services.

The scarcity of rainfall and the limited underground water, most of which has such a high mineral content that it is unsuitable for drinking or irrigation, restricted the population and the extent of agricultural and industrial development the country could support until desalination projects began. Although water continues to be provided from underground sources, most is obtained by desalination of seawater.

Qatar Use of Natural Resources

Qatar Environment

Climate:

Qatar lies outside the area of the annual monsoons. Its seasons are similar to those of the Temperate Zone, although usually much hotter. The winter months from December through February are cool. Intense heat persists at least from May through September. March, April, October, and November normally provide the most agreeable climatic conditions. Average humidity ranges from 32% during the cooler months to highs of 96% and 100% during late summer and early fall. Rainfall is usually very light and averages less than 3 inches per year, mostly in the winter months. Almost no rain falls from May through October. Frequent high winds, especially from March through August, can fill the air with fine dust and create a brownish haze on the horizon. The prevailing desert wind, known as shemal, comes from the north during the spring and summer months. In late summer, when the shemal dies, the humidity rises.

The long summer (June through September) is characterized by intense heat and alternating dryness and humidity, with temperatures exceeding 55° C. Temperatures are moderate from November through May, although winter temperatures may fall to

17° C, which is relatively cool for the latitude. Rainfall is negligible, averaging 100 millimeters per year, confined to the winter months, and falling in brief, sometimes heavy storms that often flood the small ravines and the usually dry wadis.

Sudden, violent dust storms occasionally descend on the peninsula, blotting out the sun, causing wind damage, and momentarily disrupting transport and other services.

The scarcity of rainfall and the limited underground water, most of which has such a high mineral content that it is unsuitable for drinking or irrigation, restricted the population and the extent of agricultural and industrial development the country could support until desalination projects began. Although water continues to be provided from underground sources, most is obtained by desalination of seawater.

Terrain:

mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel

Natural Resources:

petroleum, natural gas, fish

Natural Hazards:

haze, dust storms, sandstorms common

Irrigated Land:

50 Square Miles
129 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

limited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Qatar Geography

Geographic Location Middle East
Total Area 4,473 Square Miles
11,586 Square Kilometers
Land Area 4,473 Square Miles
11,586 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 37 Miles
60 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 50 Square Miles
129 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Saudi Arabia 60 km
Coastline 350 Miles
563 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 25 30 N, 51 15 E
Terrain mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel
Highest Point 103 Meters
Highest Point Location Qurayn Abu al Bawl 103 m
Lowest Point Location Persian Gulf 0 m
Natural Resources petroleum, natural gas, fish
Time Zone UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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