Qatar is among the smallest countries in the world. Most of the country is consists of low, barren plain covered with sand. The country is flat and low lying. Its highest point is 338 feet above sea level. Qatar has some of the world's richest oil and natural gas fields.
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.
Qatar shares its land border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with which in 1993 it continued to have a dispute in the Khawr al Udayd area. The boundary with Saudi Arabia was settled in 1965 but never demarcated. Qatar's northwest coast is fewer than thirty kilometers from Bahrain.
Doha is the capital of the country and the major administrative, commercial, and population center. In 1993 it was linked to other towns and development sites by a system of about 1,000 kilometers of paved roads. Doha's international airport has an approximately 4,500-meter main runway, capable of receiving all kinds of aircraft.
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.