Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates and is roughly at sea level. The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast. Hatta, a minor exclave of the emirate, is surrounded on three sides by Oman and by the emirates of Ajman (in the west) and Ras Al Khaimah (in the north). The Persian Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate. Dubai is positioned at 25.2697° N 55.3095° E and covers an area of 1,588 square miles (4,114 sq km).
Dubai lies within the Arabian Desert. However, the topography of Dubai is significantly different from that of the southern portion of the UAE in that much of Dubai’s landscape is highlighted by sandy desert patterns, while gravel deserts dominate much of the southern region of the country.
The sand consists mostly of crushed shell and coral and is fine, clean and white. East of the Dubai city, the salt-crusted coastal plains, known as sabkha, give way to a north-south running line of dunes. Farther east, the dunes grow larger and are tinged red with iron oxide.
The flat sandy desert gives way to the Western Hajar Mountains, which run alongside Dubai’s border with Oman at Hatta. The Western Hajar chain has an arid, jagged and shattered landscape, whose mountains rise to about 1,300 meters in some places. Dubai has no natural river bodies or oases; however, it does have a natural inlet, Dubai Creek, which has been dredged to deepen it enough for large vessels to pass through. The emirate contains multiple gorges and waterholes which dot the base of the Western Al Hajar mountains. A vast sea of sand dunes cover much of southern Dubai, which eventually lead into the desert known as The Empty Quarter.
The sandy desert surrounding Dubai City supports wild grasses and occasional date palm trees. Desert hyacinths grow in the sabkha plans east of the city, while acacia and ghaf trees grow in the flat plains within the proximity of the Western Al Hajar mountains. Several indigenous trees such as the date palm and neem as well as imported trees like the eucalypts grow in Dubai’s natural parks. The houbara bustard, striped hyena, caracal, desert fox, falcon, and Arabian oryx are common in Dubai’s desert. Dubai is on the migration path between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and more than 320 migratory birds pass through the emirate in spring and autumn. The waters of Dubai are home to more than 300 species of fish, including the hammour.
Dubai has a hot and, at times, humid climate with many months recording temperatures of over 40°C. Rainfall is generally light, with a mean of about 100 mm per year; precipitation is usually centered around January, February, and March. The mean humidity in Dubai is about 60 percent.