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Air masses

Weather Characteristics

You should memorise the information in the table below to make sure that you can correctly identify the weather characteristics of air masses from each source area.

NameSource AreaWeather Characteristics
Tropical Maritime (mT)Atlantic OceanWarm and wet
Tropical Continental (cT)Southern Europe and North AfricaWarm and dry
Polar maritime (mP)North AtlanticCold and wet
Polar Continental (cP)Northern EuropeCold and dry
Arctic Martime (mA)Arctic OceanVery Cold. Not always wet due to low humidity

Now look again at the map below. Make sure that you can name the 5 air masses and describe their characteristics. The source area will help you explain why each air mass has that particular characteristic.

5 arrows on a map pointing to the UK


The temperature of an Air Mass is also determined by seasonal changes. Temperatures in Summer months are always higher than in Winter months.

The Air Mass known as The Arctic Maritime does not occur very often, but when it does it brings with it heavy snow.


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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