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Air masses


An Air Mass is a large volume of air which travels from one area to another. The weather an air mass brings is determined by the region it has come from and the type of surface it has moved over.

The five main air masses

There are 5 main Air Masses which affect The British Isles. You will need to be able to identify them and their characteristics.

5 arrows on a map pointing to the UK

To describe and explain the weather that air masses bring , think about the following:

  1. Where has your air mass come from: is it the Arctic Circle, the North Pole or the Tropics?
  2. Has the air mass passed over sea or land?

The two pieces of information above will help you name the air mass and describe its characterists. The basic ideas are as follows:

Source AreaCharacteristics


Weather map of Great Britain

Class Clips

Brrrr! Video clip about how the flow of warm and cold air masses affects our weather


Hotel on a beach

Class Clips

Video clip about how different air masses leads to contrasting climates in two holiday resorts

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