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regions where air masses originate

source regions

extremely large body of air with uniform temperature and humidity

air mass

should be generally flat and of uniform composition with light surface winds

source region

Usually areas dominated by surface high pressure

source region

NOT good source regions

mid-latitudes because surface temperature and moisture characteristics vary considerably

This region is a transition zone where air masses with different physical properties move in, clash, and produce an exciting array of weather activity.


The classification system for air masses is based on _____ and _____

temperature, humidity







continental Polar (cP)

dry, cold

continental Arctic (cA)

dry, extremely cold

maritime Polar (mP)

moist, cold

maritime Tropical (mT)

moist, hot

continental Tropical (cT)

dry, hot


continental Polar


continental Arctic


maritime Polar


maritime Tropical


continental Tropical

North America cP and cA
- Source region:

N. Canada, Alaska

North American mP
- Source region:

North Pacific, North Atlantic

North American mT
- Source region:

Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, SE Pacific

North American cT
- Source Region:

SW US, Mexican Plateau

- Dry, cold, stable

North America cP and cA

- Cool, moist, unstable

North American mP

- Wet, warm, unstable

North American mT

- Hot, dry, stable

North American cT

- Pineapple Express, Bermuda High

North American mT

Air masses move in response to ____ ____

winds aloft

green-shaded regions

light rain and drizzle

pink-shaded regions

freezing rain and sleet

white-shaded region


Downwind of the Rockies, the ____air is dry.


Air mass moves into California from Pacific.

maritime tropical (mT)

Warm, humid airflow which produces heavy rain and extensive flooding in northern and central California.

the pineapple express (mT)

blue points and red domes on the same line

Stationary front

Temperatures in blue

minimum temperatures

Temperatures in red

maximum temperatures

Heavy arrow

average upper-level flow

purple L and H

show average positions of upper-level trough and ridge

Texas norther is associated with these air masses

cP, cA

cP air passes over unfrozen lake, absorbs moisture and drops snow on leeward side of lake

Lake Effect Snow

cold air is not moving but there is a definite boundary between warm and cold air

stationary front

cold front overtakes the warm front

occluded front

cold, dry stable air replaces warm, moist unstable air

cold front

blue line with blue triangles

cold front

a front associated with vertical development of clouds

cold front

front associated with thunderstorms, squall lines

cold front

warm, moist unstable air overrides cold, dry stable air

warm front

red line with red semi-circles

warm front

front associated with horizontal cloud development and steady rain

warm front

a front represented by alternating red and blue line with blue triangles and red semi-circles

stationary front

a front with winds parallel but opposite direction

stationary front

a front with variable weather

stationary front

cold front catches up to and overtakes a warm front

occluded front

a purple line with purple triangles and semi-circles

occluded front

a front associated with cold occlusion and warm occlusion

occluded front

winds blow ____ around lows


what clock direction is "cyclonically"


winds blow ____ around highs


what clock direction is "anticyclonically"


When the temperature contrast across a front lessens, the front will often weaken and dissipate.


An increase in temperature contrast across a front can cause it to strengthen and regenerate into a more vigorous frontal system










a transition zone between the strong temperature and humidity differences of two different air masses


Name the four types of fronts.

Cold, Warm, Stationary, Occluded

An extratropical cyclone that forms and moves along a front. The circulation of winds about the cyclone tends to produce a wavelike deformation on the front.

wave cyclone

The piling up of air above a region


Small disturbances imbedded in a longwave


Another term for Rossby waves


A kink that forms along a front

frontal wave

The development or strengthening of a midlatitude storm system


The spreading out of air above a region


A storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain.

Tropical Cyclones

Tropical cyclones feed on heat released when ____ air rises.


Tropical cyclones feed on heat released when moist air rises resulting in _____ and ____ _____ contained in the moist air.

condensation, water vapor

Tropical Cyclones are fueled by a diferent mechanism than mid-latitude cyclones know as "____ ____ " storm systems

warm core

Tropical cyclones originate in the ____ near the equator.


Tropical cyclones originate in the doldrums near the equator about ___ away from it.

10 degrees

The term "cyclones" refers to the cyclonic nature, with _____ rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and ____ rotation in the Southern Hemisphere.

counterclockwise, clockwise

The term "tropical" refers to their geographic origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively in tropical regions of the globe, and their formation in ____ ____ air masses.

maritime tropical

Because ____ is strongest in a tropical climate, it defines the initial domain of the tropical cyclone.


In contrast to tropical storms, mid-latitude cyclones draw their energy mostly from pre-existing ____ temperature gradients in the atmosphere.


To continue to drive its heat engine, ____ ____ must remain over warm water, which provides the needed atmopspheric moisture to keep the positive feedback loop running.

tropical cyclone

When a tropical cyclone passes over land, it is cut off from its _____ ____ and its strength diminishes rapidly.

heat source

Sequence of a hurricane formation

Tropical disturbance, tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane

A ____ ____ is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined, closed surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of less than 17 meters per second.

tropical depression

A tropical depression has no ____.


A tropical depression is a ____ system.


A tropical storm is an organized system of strong _____.


A tropical storm has a distinctive ____ shape but an eye is not usually present.


A hurricane forms with a cluster of ____ rotating around an area of low pressure.


When a hurricane forms there is a release of ____ ___ and divergence aloft.

latent heat

Hurricanes form over ____, ____ waters.

warm, tropical

Another name for a tropical wave

easterly wave

Lines that show wind flow patterns.


Areas of converging winds that move along the same track as the prevailing wind.

waves in the trade winds in the Atlantic Ocean

Create instabilities in the atmosphere that may lead to the formation of hurricanes.



Caribbean Amerindian storm god from which hurricane is derived

Air pressure ____ rapidly as you approach the eye of the storm.


In a hurricane ____, surface winds normally reach a maximum strength.


Hurricanes north of the equator, surface winds blow _____

counterclockwise about its eye

A strong ____ ____ will harbor an area of sinking air at the center of circulation.If this area is strong enough, it can develop into a large eye.

tropical cyclone

Weather in the eye is normally calm and free of ____, although the ____ may be extremely violent

clouds, sea

The heaviest rain inside a Hurricane occurs in the ____


Tall clouds in the eyewall of a Hurricane indicate the storm is ____


Hurricane intensity scale


The water typically rises about ____ feet with a Category 1 hurricane.


The water may rise to ____ feet with a Category 5 hurricane.


____ ____ can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain.

Tropical cyclones

Tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful ____ and torrential ____

winds, rain

Tropical cyclones develop over large bodies of ____ water.


____ regions can receive significant damage from a ____ ____

costal, tropical cyclone

____regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds from a tropical cyclone.


Heavy rains from a tropical cyclone can produce significant ____ inland.


Tropical cyclones can produce storm ____ which can cause extensive coastal flooding.



accumulated cyclone energy

The most common hurricane category to make landfall along the coastline of the United States from 1900 through 2007.

Category 1

These hurricane categories are considered major hurricanes


Hurricane watch is issued 24-48 hours before a hurricane is expected to make ____


Hurricane warning is issued when a storm is expected to strike the coast within ____ hours


Hurricanes take ___ paths


Statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season

September 10th

Tropical cyclone sin the northwest Pacific Ocean are the ____ on earth on average.


"Very large" tropical cyclones have a radius of greater than ___ degrees


The passage of a tropical cyclone over the ocean can cause the ____ layers of the ocean to cool


Cooler water from upwelling causes a tropical cyclone to ____


Damage mainly to trees, shrubbery, and anchored mobile homes

Saffir-Simpson Category 1

Some trees blown down; major damage to exposed mobile homes; some damage to roofs of buildings

Saffir-Simpson Category 2

Seed clouds to create rain, weaken hurricane, and reduce winds; no conclusive evidence it was effective


Which of the following statements is NOT correct?
(1) Ice nuclei are more plentiful in the atmosphere than condensation nuclei
(2) Generally, the smaller the pure water droplet, the lower the temperature at which it will freeze.
(3) Much of the rain falling in middle northern latitudes begins as snow.
(4) Ice crystals may grow in a cold cloud even though supercooled droplets do not.
(5) The larger the water drop, the higher its terminal velocity.


Suppose you are in Denver, Colorado (latitude 39.5°N). At noon on June 21, at what angle would you observe
the sun above the southern horizon?
(1) 74°
(2) 39.5°
(3) 66.5°
(4) 63°
(5) 23.5°


A building anticyclone means:
(1) the anticyclone is moving toward the east coast
(2) separate anticyclones are merging
(3) the central pressure is increasing
(4) the anticyclone is causing a middle latitude storm to form
(5) the central pressure is decreasing


Thick sheets of ice advanced over North America as far south as New York as recently as:
(1) 1816 (\the year without a summer")
(2) 2 million years ago
(3) 100 million years ago
(4) 1550
(5) 22,000 years ago


A wind reported at 315° would be a wind blowing from the:
(1) NW (2) SW (3) SE (4) NE (5) W


For air circulating counter-clockwise around a low pressure system in the Northern Hemisphere:
(1) the pressure gradient force points inward and the coriolis force points outward
(2) the centripetal force balances the frictional force
(3) the coriolis force balances the frictional force
(4) the coriolis force points inward and the pressure gradient force points outward
(5) the air moves in the direction of the net force


When viewed from the surface, the smallest individual cloud elements (puffs) are observed with which cloud?
(1) cumulus
(2) stratocumulus
(3) altocumulus
(4) cumulonimbus
(5) cirrocumulus


Hurricanes most commonly form:
(1) between 25° and 45° latitude
(2) between 45° and 65° latitude
(3) between 65° and 85° latitude
(4) between the equator and 5° latitude
(5) between 5° and 25° latitude


Upwelling occurs along the northern California coast because:
(1) water flows from the Atlantic into the Pacific because they are at different levels
(2) winds cause surface waters to move away from the coast
(3) of tidal motions
(4) of larger than normal fish hatches in El Nino years
(5) of seismic activity on the ocean bottom


What best describes a Baroclinic condition?
(1) when dew points rise while temperatures drop
(2) when isotherms cross contour lines
(3) when thunderstorms organize in a rotational motion
(4) a sudden change in air pressure that causes hives in some people
(5) when isotachs are parallel to isobars


On a surface weather map that shows an open wave cyclone, the warm sector can be observed:
(1) behind an advancing cold-occluded front
(2) ahead of an advancing cold-occluded front
(3) behind an advancing cold front
(4) ahead of an advancing warm front
(5) ahead of an advancing cold front


Which of the following is NOT an electromagnetic wave?
(1) blackbody radiation emitted by a rock
(2) sound waves
(3) microwaves
(4) infrared radiation
(5) visible light


A cold front is moving through your area, traveling from the northwest. During the passage of the cold front, surface
winds will most likely blow in the following way:
(1) they will be northwesterly both before and after the front passes
(2) they will be southwesterly before and southeasterly after the front passes
(3) they will be southwesterly before and northwesterly after the front passes
(4) they will be southeasterly both before and after the front passes
(5) they will be northwesterly before and calm after the front passes


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