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Air Masses and Fronts: How are they related to storms?. S.C. Standard 6-4.4. AIR MASSES. Huge bodies of air Formed over water or land in tropical or polar regions The prevailing westerlies generally push air masses from west to east. Air masses (cont.).

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air masses
  • Huge bodies of air
  • Formed over water or land in tropical or polar regions
  • The prevailing westerlies generally push air masses from west to east.
air masses cont
Air masses (cont.)
  • Tropical air masses- warm air masses with low air pressure
  • Polar air masses- cold air masses with high air pressure
air masses cont4
Air masses (cont.)
  • Whether an air mass is humid or dry depends on whether it forms over water or land
      • Water - humid
      • Land – dry
air masses cont5
Air Masses (cont.)
  • 4 types:

1-Maritime tropical warm, humid air masses that form over oceans near the tropics

2-Maritime polar cold, humid air masses that form over icy cold North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans

air masses cont6
Air masses (cont.)

3- Continental tropical hot, dry air masses that form only in summer over dry areas in Southwest and northern Mexico

4- Continental polar cold, dry air masses that form over central and northern Canada and Alaska

  • As air masses move and collide with each other, fronts are formed at the boundaries between the air masses
4 types of fronts
4 Types of Fronts:

1- Cold front A rapidly moving cold air mass runs into a slowly moving warm air mass. The dense cold air slides under the lighter warm air. The warm air is pushed upward and causes a cold front.

  • Causes sudden changes in weather and severe storms
4 types of fronts cont
4 Types of Fronts: (cont.)

2. Warm Fronts  a moving warm air mass collides with a slowly moving cold air mass. The warm air moves over the cold air .

  • Clouds, fog and rain also accompany warm fronts, sometimes may bring storms.
4 types of fronts cont10
4 Types of Fronts: (cont.)

3. Stationary Front when warm and cold air masses meet, but neither is stronger than the other a “standoff” occurs known as a stationary front

  • May bring days of clouds and precipitation
4 types of fronts cont11
4 Types of Fronts: (cont.)

4. Occluded Front a warm air mass is caught between two cooler air masses. The denser cool air masses move underneath the less dense warm air mass and push upward. The two cool air masses meet in the middle and may mix.

  • Weather may turn cloudy and rainy or snowy
pressure systems
  • High/Low Pressure Systems are created by warm air rising and cool air sinking combined with the spinning of Earth that causes rotation of air masses
pressure systems cont
  • 2 Types
    • HIGH usually signals fair weather with winds that circulate around the system in a clockwise direction
    • LOW counterclockwise circulating winds that often result in rainy and/or stormy weather conditions
  • Occur when pressure differences cause rapid air movement
  • Thunderstorms
  • Tornado
  • Hurricane
  • A storm with thunder, lightning, heavy rains and strong winds
  • Usually forms along a cold front but can form within an air mass
  • Forms within large cumulonimbus clouds
  • Rapidly whirling, funnel shaped cloud that reaches down from a storm cloud
  • Area of low pressure
  • Strong winds
  • Likely to form within the frontal

regions where strong thunderstorms

are also present

  • Low pressure tropical storm that forms over water
  • “eye” of the storm Winds that are spinning in a circular pattern around the center of the storm
  • Lower the air pressure

at the center, the faster

the winds blow toward

the center of the storm

weather instruments
Weather Instruments:

Thermometer- measures temperature

Hygrometer/Psychrometer- measure relative humidity

Barometer- Measures air pressure

Rain Gauge- measures amount of precipitation

Anemometer- measures wind speed

Wind vane- direction of wind



Complete as you watch the storms video.