What is an air mass?

An air mass is a large body of air having little horizontal variation in temperature and moisture. The homogenous surfaces, over which air masses form, are called the source regions. Air masses can extend thousands of kilometres in any direction and can reach from ground level to the stratosphere. The air masses are classified according to the source regions. These are: 


Source regions

Air masses

Warm tropical and subtropical oceans

Maritime tropical (mT)

The subtropical hot deserts

Continental tropical (cT)

The relatively cold high latitude oceans

Maritime polar (mP)

The very cold snow-covered continents in high latitudes

Continental polar (cP)

Permanently ice-covered continents in the Arctic and Antarctica

Continental arctic (cA)

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