Air Masses

Air Masses
• An air mass is a large body of air that has
relatively uniform temperature and humidity
• If air remains over a source region long
enough, it will acquire the properties of the
surface below
• They are grouped into four categories based
on their source region
– Polar “P”- Cold
– Tropical “T”- Warm
– Continental “C”- Dry
– Maritime “M”- Wet
• These letters are combined to indicate the
type of air mass:
cP: cold, dry air mass
mP: cold, moist air mass
cT: warm, dry air mass
mT: warm, moist air mass
• When 2 air masses meet
• Can be 100s of miles long
• Named by which mass
Overtakes the other mass
Cold Front
Cold Front
Fast Moving
After there are cold temps
Vertical boundaries
Warm air is pushed up fast
Can lead to thunderstorms
Video from plane
Severe Storm
Warm Front
Warm Front
Distinct Cloud Pattern
Slow Moving
Can lead to days of rainy weather
Gradual Front Line
Occluded Front
Occluded Front
• Warm air is isolated off of the ground
• Heavy Rain
• 3 different air masses
Stationary Front
Stationary Front
• Neither air mass overtakes the other
• Extended clouds or rain for days
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