air masses and fronts

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Air Masses

A large parcel of air that has relatively uniform properties in the horizontal dimension and moves as an entity

characteristics of air masses

must be large, homogeneous, and distinct from surrounding air
formed when atmosphere is calm for a few days

how are air masses classified?

classified according to temperature and moisture characteristics of their source regions.

Continental Arctic (cA)

Extremely cold and very dry, extremely stable, minimal could cover.

Continental Polar (cP)

cold and dry. very stable. minimal could cover.

Maritime Polar (mP)

cold. damp. cloudy. somewhat unstable.

Continental Tropical (cT)

Hot and dry. very unstable.

Maritime Tropical (mT)

warm and humid.

Source regions tend to be...

Extensive
Physically uniform
Associated with air that is stationary over a long period of time

Warm Fronts

warm air displaces cold air
shallow lift produces stratus clouds
light precipitation

Cold Fronts

cold air displaces warm air
steep uplift causes cumulonimbus clouds and heavy precipitation

Stationary Fronts

Neither air mass encroaches
Warmer Air is displaced aloft

Occluded fronts

When two fronts meet
Cold front closes on a warm front

Dry Lines

Strong humidity boundary
When maritime tropical and continental tropical air masses reside next to eachother
found in the southern great plains

Cyclogenesis

Birth of a cyclone

Characteristics of cyclogenesis

begins along the polar front
low pressure forms
fronts develop
occlusion occurs
storm dissipates

The warm front is always____ of the cold front

ahead

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