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Air Masses, Fronts, and Storms. Prof. John Toohey-Morales, CCM St. Thomas University Miami Gardens, Florida. Air Mass Classification. Air mass is an extremely large body of air whose properties of temperature and humidity are fairly similar

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air masses fronts and storms

Air Masses, Fronts, and Storms

Prof. John Toohey-Morales, CCM

St. Thomas University

Miami Gardens, Florida

air mass classification
Air Mass Classification
  • Air mass is an extremely large body of air whose properties of temperature and humidity are fairly similar
  • Classified according to their temperature and humidity
air mass classification3
Air Mass Classification
  • Polar (P) masses originate in polar latitudes
  • Tropical (T) masses originate in warm tropical regions
  • Continental (c) masses originate over land
  • Maritime (m) air masses form over water
air mass behavior
Air Mass Behavior
  • Continental Polar (cP)
air mass behavior5
Air Mass Behavior
  • Maritime Polar (mP)
air mass behavior6
Air Mass Behavior
  • Maritime Tropical (mT)
air mass behavior7
Air Mass Behavior
  • Maritime Tropical (mT)
air mass behavior8
Air Mass Behavior
  • Continental Tropical (cT)
fronts
Fronts
  • A transition zone between air masses with different densities, usually separating air masses with contrasting temperatures
  • Stationary fronts have almost no movement
finding fronts
Finding Fronts
  • Sharp temperature changes over a relatively short distance
  • Changes in air moisture content
  • Shifting winds
  • Pressure changes
  • Cloud and precipitation patterns
cold fronts

Go to Visualization

Cold Fronts
  • Has cold, dry polar air replacing warm, moist air
  • Most move towards the south, southeast or east
warm fronts

Go to Visualization

Warm Fronts
  • Warm, moist air replacing retreating cold air
occluded fronts

Go to Visualization

Occluded Fronts
  • Cold front catches up and overtakes the warm front
  • Most prevalent type of front that moves into the west coast of the U.S.
cyclogenesis

Go to Visualization

Cyclogenesis
  • Mid latitude cyclones form outside the tropics at mid and high latitudes
  • In Polar Front Theory, storms form along the polar front
    • Frontal Wave
    • Open Wave
    • Occlusion
upper level support
Upper Level Support
  • Upper level divergence must be greater than the surface convergence for lows to develop and strengthen (need an upper level trough to the west of the surface low)
  • This leads to a drop in surface pressure and intensification
upper level support contd
Upper Level Support (contd.)
  • Upper level convergence leads to filling of surface lows or building highs (upper trough to the east)
  • Upper level winds steer the storms