UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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.
Qatari rial (QAR)
Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Arab 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%
National Day, 18 December (1878), anniversary of Al Thani family accession to the throne; Independence Day, 3 September (1971)
25 30 N, 51 15 E
Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia