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Karen Bowen
Karen Bowen • 2 years ago

In meteorology, an air mass is a volume of air defined by its temperature and water vapor content. Air masses cover many hundreds or thousands of square miles, and adopt the characteristics of the surface below them. They are classified according to latitude and their continental or maritime source regions. Colder air masses are termed polar or arctic, while warmer air masses are deemed tropical. Continental and superior air masses are dry while maritime and monsoon air masses are moist.

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Front: the transition zone or boundary between 2 air masses of different densities caused by temp differences; usually separate air masses w/ contrasting temps; often separate air masses w/ different humidities; air masses have both horizontal & vertical extent, so the upward extension of a front is a frontal surface or a frontal zone

In meteorology, a heat burst is a rare atmospheric phenomenon characterised by gusty winds and a rapid increase in temperature and decrease in dew point (moisture). Heat bursts typically occur during night-time and are associated with decaying thunderstorms. Although this phenomenon is not fully understood, it is theorized that the event is caused when rain evaporates (virga) into a parcel of cold dry air high in the atmosphere making the air denser than its surroundings.

Entrainment occurs when a turbulent flow captures a non-turbulent flow. It is typically used to refer to the capture of a wind flow of high moisture content, or in the case of tropical cyclones, the capture of drier air. Entrainment is the mixing of environmental air into a preexisting air current or cloud so that the environmental air becomes part of the current or cloud. The entrainment coefficient in clouds is one of the most sensitive variables causing uncertainty in climate models.

Free Water in the Air Experiment to introduce evaporation and condensation (from Laura Candler's online science file cabinet)

When an air mass moves over a large body of water, its original properties may change a lot; cold, dry continental polar air moving over the Gulf of Mexico warms rapidly & gains moisture; the air quickly assumes the qualities of a maritime air mass

Vapor Pressure: the pressure exerted by a vapor in thermodynamic equilibrium with its condensed phases (solid or liquid) at a given temperature in a closed system; an indication of a liquid's evaporation rate; the total pressure inside a parcel is due to the collision of all the molecules against the inside surface of the parcel; total pressure inside is equal to the sum of the pressures of the individual gases (Dalton's law of partial pressure)

  • Julia

    actual vapor pressure: partial pressure vapor; can find if you know the total pressure and the percentage of water vapor inside the parcel; because the number of water vapor molecules in any volume of air is small compared to the total number of air molecules in the volume, the actual vapor pressure is normally a small fraction of the total air pressure; the actual vapor pressure is a fairly good measure of the total amount of water vapor in the air; more molecules means more pressure

Cloud in a Jar Water Cycle Demo

A good illustration of the earth's major air mass patterns.