Mongolia covers an area of 1.5m square kilometers, making it the 8th largest country in Asia, the 17th largest in the world, and the second largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. It shares a 4,673 kilometers long border with China to the east, west, and south, and a 3,485 kilometers long border with Russia to the north. Such an advantageous location allows Mongolia to directly connect with China – the second largest economy in the world. With Russia and China being the main trade partners, Mongolia’s geographic location plays a pivotal role in connecting both countries.
The topography of Mongolia is varied, with the Gobi Desert to the south and the colder, more mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of the country consists of steppes. Mongolia has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters as well as short summers that see most of the country’s annual rainfall. In winter, Ulaanbaatar claims the title as the coldest capital city in the world, with an average January temperature of -24.5 °C (-12.5 °F).
The total length of rivers and streams in Mongolia is about 67,000km, however, 84 percent of total water resources are in lakes. In addition, there are approximately 7,000 springs, as the country is rich in underground freshwater.
Mongolian rivers and streams are divided into three categories: those flowing into the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and into what are known as “endorheic basins – drainage basins that normally retain water and don’t allow outflow to other external bodies of water. The Selenge is the largest river in Mongolia. Its basin, including the basins that that flow into it, accounts for 20% of the total territory. Among the largest clear water lakes in Mongolia is Khuvsgul, which is also the deepest lake in Central Asia. The largest endorheic lake is Uvs, with a total area of 3,350 sq. km.