An air mass is a large (usually thousands of miles across) volume of air that has the same temperature and humidity. Air masses get their properties from spending days to weeks over the same part of the Earth: Examples: over central Canada, the North Pole, the tropical Pacific Ocean. Describe what the air would be like in each of these places. Warm? Cold? Wet? Dry?
If the air mass sits over the ocean for a while, it becomes humid (wet) and is called maritime . The air will have high humidity. If the air mass sits over land for a while, it becomes dry and is called continental . The air will have low humidity.
If the air mass sits near the equator for a while, it becomes warm and is called tropical . If the air mass sits near the poles for a while, it becomes cold and is called polar .
This means there are 4 combinations: What do you think they will be? Maritime tropical = wet & warm Continental tropical = dry & warm Maritime polar = wet & cold Continental polar = dry & cold Our weather constantly changes because different kinds of air masses are being pushed around the Earth.
In the USA, the jet stream push air masses from west to east. Therefore our weather generally comes from the west toward Georgia.
A weather front is a “battle” between two different air masses that are touching.
This means that a front is the boundary that separates different kinds of air masses. Imagine two water balloons that are filled with water of different temperatures. If you hold one in each hand and push them together, the places the balloons touch is the boundary between the two balloons. This would be the balloon “front.”
Cold front Notice that the colder (blue) air is pushing the other air out of the way. It is “winning the pushing battle.” Notice the symbol for a cold front! .
Cold front facts to know: 1. Moves quickly 3. Produces cumulus first. <ul><ul><li>2. Rapid “uplift” of air occurs due to the cold air lifting the warm air. </li></ul></ul>4. Often produces severe weather (tornadoes, hail, lightning). 5. Cooler, drier air follows.