Air Mass

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Flowing in a semi-continuous band around the globe from west to east, it is caused by the changes in air temperature where the cold polar air moving towards the equator meets the warmer equatorial air moving polarward. It is marked by a concentration of isotherms and strong vertical shear.
Flowing in a semi-continuous band around the globe from west to east, it is caused by the changes in air temperature where the cold polar air moving towards the equator meets the warmer equatorial air moving polarward. It is marked by a concentration of isotherms and strong vertical shear.

An Air Mass is an extensive body of air throughout which the horizontal temperature and moisture characteristics are similar.

Air masses cover many hundreds or thousands of square miles, and adopt the characteristics of the surface below them. They are classified according to latitude and their continental or maritime source regions. Colder air masses are termed polar or arctic, while warmer air masses are deemed tropical.

Continental and superior air masses are dry while maritime and monsoon air masses are moist. Weather fronts separate air masses with different density (temperature and/or moisture) characteristics.

Once an air mass moves away from its source region, underlying vegetation and water bodies can quickly modify its character. Classification schemes tackle an air mass' characteristics, and well as modification.


[edit] Reference

  • Wikipedia Air Mass [1]

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