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air mass,large body of air within the earth's atmosphereatmosphere
[Gr.,=sphere of air], the mixture of gases surrounding a celestial body with sufficient gravity to maintain it. Although some details about the atmospheres of other planets and satellites are known, only the earth's atmosphere has been well studied, the science of
..... Click the link for more information. in which temperature and humidity, although varying at different heights, remain similar throughout the body at any one height. Air masses form over parts of the earth's surface called source regions, which are large bodies of water or landmasses with relatively uniform topography, often ranging hundreds of thousands of square miles in area. When a body of air remains over a source region for days or weeks, it reaches an equilibrium with the surface. Radiation and convection exchanges between the surface and the air determines the air mass characteristics. Air masses formed over oceans generally contain more moisture than continental ones; air masses formed in polar latitudes are colder than those from the tropics. As an air mass moves away from its source region, it brings its particular weatherweather,
state of the atmosphere at a given time and place with regard to temperature, air pressure (see barometer), wind, humidity, cloudiness, and precipitation. The term weather
..... Click the link for more information. conditions to areas over which it travels. At the same time, its characteristic properties are slowly modified by exposure to new environments. The boundaries between air masses, called frontsfront,
in meteorology, zone of transition between adjacent air masses. If a cold air mass is advancing to replace a warmer one, their mutual boundary is termed a cold front; if the reverse, then the boundary is termed a warm front, whereas a stationary front indicates that no
..... Click the link for more information. , are, typically, zones of rapid transition from cold to warm or from dry to moist air. Turbulence at the boundary often breeds low-pressure storms.
air mass[′er ‚mas]
An extensive body of the atmosphere which approximates horizontal homogeneity in its weather characteristics, particularly with reference to temperature and moisture distribution.
A body of air with nearly uniform conditions of temperature and humidity at any given level.