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Table of Contents. Air Masses and Fronts Storms Predicting the Weather. - Air Masses and Fronts. Classifying Air Masses. Four major types of air masses influence the weather in North America: maritime tropical, continental tropical, maritime polar, and continental polar.

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table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Air Masses and Fronts
  • Storms
  • Predicting the Weather
classifying air masses

- Air Masses and Fronts

Classifying Air Masses
  • Four major types of air masses influence the weather in North America: maritime tropical, continental tropical, maritime polar, and continental polar.
types of air masses

- Air Masses and Fronts

Types of Air Masses
  • Air masses can be warm or cold, and humid or dry. As an air mass moves into an area, the weather changes.
how a front forms

- Air Masses and Fronts

How a Front Forms
  • The boundary where unlike air masses meet is called a front.
types of fronts

- Air Masses and Fronts

Types of Fronts
  • Colliding air masses can form four types of fronts: cold fronts, warm fronts, stationary fronts, and occluded fronts.
cyclones and anticyclones

- Air Masses and Fronts

Cyclones and Anticyclones
  • Winds spiral inward towards the low-pressure center of a cyclone. Winds spiral outward from the high-pressure center of an anticyclone.
comparing and contrasting

- Air Masses and Fronts

Comparing and Contrasting
  • As you read, compare and contrast the four types of fronts by completing a table like the one below.

Types of Weather


How It Forms

Cold front

A cold air mass overtakes a warm air mass.

Clouds, possibly storms with heavy precipitation

Warm front

A warm air mass overtakes a cold air mass.

Clouds, light precipitation

Stationary front

Cold and warm air masses meet, but neither can move the other.

Clouds, precipitation

Occluded front

A warm air mass is caught between two cold air masses.

Clouds, precipitation

thunderstorm formation

- Storms

Thunderstorm Formation
  • A thunderstorm forms when warm, humid air rises rapidly within a cumulonimbus cloud.
tornado formation

- Storms

Tornado Formation
  • Tornadoes can form when warm, humid air rises rapidly in thick cumulonimbus clouds—the same type of clouds that bring thunderstorms.
tornado alley

- Storms

Tornado Alley
  • Tornadoes in the U.S. are most likely to occur in a region known as Tornado Alley.
structure of a hurricane

- Storms

Structure of a Hurricane
  • In a hurricane, air moves rapidly around a low-pressure area called the eye.
hurricane andrew

- Storms

Hurricane Andrew
  • The path of Hurricane Andrew over three consecutive days can be seen below.
lake effect snow

- Storms

Lake-Effect Snow
  • As cold dry air moves across the warmer water, it becomes more humid as water vapor evaporates from the lake surface. When the air reaches land and cools, snow falls.

- Storms

  • As you read, make a flowchart like the one below that shows how a hurricane forms. Write each step of the process in a separate box in the order in which it occurs.

Hurricane Formation

Begins as a low-pressure area over warm water,or a tropical disturbance.

Warm, humid air rises and begins to spiral.

As air rises, more warm, moist air is drawn into the system and the hurricane gains energy.

As winds spiral inward, bands of high windsand heavy rains form.

red sky

- Predicting the Weather

Red Sky
  • A red sky is one kind of observation that helps people to predict the weather.
computer weather forecasting

- Predicting the Weather

Computer Weather Forecasting
  • Scientists use computers to develop different models of how a front may move. These predictions are then used to make weather forecasts. As more data become available, some models are found to be incorrect, while others are found to closely fit the predicted conditions. The upper graph shows the predicted air pressure from two models. The lower graph shows actual data for air pressure.
computer weather forecasting17
Time of day and air pressure

Reading Graphs:

What two variables are being graphed?

- Predicting the Weather

Computer Weather Forecasting
computer weather forecasting18
According to model A, air pressure will drop slightly then increase. According to model B, air pressure will steadily decrease.

Interpreting Data:

How is air pressure predicted to change according to each model in the top graph?

- Predicting the Weather

Computer Weather Forecasting
computer weather forecasting19
Model B


Which computer model most closely matches the actual air pressure data?

- Predicting the Weather

Computer Weather Forecasting
computer weather forecasting20
Stormy weather, clouds, and precipitation accompany low air pressure.


What weather would you forecast for Monday and Tuesday? Explain.

- Predicting the Weather

Computer Weather Forecasting
reading weather map symbols

- Predicting the Weather

Reading Weather Map Symbols
  • The figure below shows what various weather symbols mean.
reading weather maps

- Predicting the Weather

Reading Weather Maps
  • This is the type of weather map produced by the National Weather Service. It shows data collected from many weather stations.
reading weather maps23

- Predicting the Weather

Reading Weather Maps
  • Weather maps in newspapers use symbols to show fronts, high- and low-pressure areas, and precipitation. Color bands indicate different temperature ranges.
previewing visuals

- Predicting the Weather

Previewing Visuals
  • Before you read, preview Figure 21, a weather map. Then write four questions that you have about the map in a graphic organizer like the one below. As you read, answer your questions.

Previewing Figure 21

Q. What type of front is located west of Okalahoma City?

A. A cold front

Q. What do the stick symbols indicate?

A. Amount of cloud cover, atmospheric pressure, wind direction and speed, and temperature

Q. What are the slender, curvy lines?

A. Isobars, which join places with the same air pressure

Q. What does the symbol to the east of Florida mean?

A. A hurricane

graphic organizer
Graphic Organizer

Typical Time of Year

Type of Storm

Where Forms

Safety Rules

Within large cumulonimbus clouds

Seek shelter, avoid trees and water.


Spring or Summer

Move to a storm shelter or basement if possible; stay away from windows and doors.


Cumulonimbus cloud

Spring, early summer

Over warm ocean water

Late summer and into autumn

Evacuate or move inside a well-built building.