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An air mass is a body of air that is exceptionally large. The body must have considerably uniform characteristics at a particular horizontal orientation as well as at any instantaneous altitude. The distinguishing factors taken into account are the moisture content and the temperature. Therefore, an air mass can span over several thousand square miles. However, it is also possible that small variations in the properties will occur. In addition, the air masses often have source regions, which are the geographic quarters of the air origin (Twardosz, Niedźwiedź, & Łupikasza 235). It is imperative that the surface of the areas has a composition that is evenly spread. The properties of the air mass are similar to the features of the source. As the air mass moves over the source, it is likely to acquire the characteristics of that surface.
Based on various source regions, air masses are classified into four broad categories. The types include the polar, tropical, continental and the marine latitudes. The polar latitude exists beyond 60 degrees towards the poles of either north or south. Whereas the tropical latitudes are found in the region stretching 25 degrees from the equator on both sides. The continental air masses are found over the significantly large portions of the dry land masses. Finally, the marine masses are found over the oceans.
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The interaction between various air masses leads to the occurrence of fronts. If two or more masses move along, they will interact at some point. The boundary formed is characterized by a transitional zone. The region is the front. Typical features of the fronts include the changes in pressure as well as moisture content. Moreover, temperature variations over considerably shorter distances and swift variations in the direction of wind are regular occurrences in a front. There are four types of fronts known as stationary, cold, warm and occluded fronts.
At a stationary front, the transition zone does not move. Stationary fronts mirror the warm fronts even though they are more inactive than other types of fronts. They arise due to significant alteration of polar air masses. A cold front results from a replacement of warm air by cold air at the surface. Movements at the cold fronts are more rapid in comparison to warm and occluded fronts. Cirrus before the front, strong thunderstorms along the front and huge clouds after the fronts are typical of cold fronts (Schultz et al. 1706). Moreover, the cold fronts are likely to encounter cooler weathers, instantaneous alteration of the wind direction as well as clearing skies. On the contrary, at a warm front, the cold air is replaced by the warm air at the surface. The movement in the warm front is averagely slow as well as less violent. Stratiform clouds as well as light to temperate and constant rain are frequent at warm fronts. However, thunderstorms are also occasionally experienced. On the northern side of the front, precipitation and clouds are a widespread occurrence (Twardosz, Niedźwiedź, & Łupikasza 235).
Due to the elevated rate of the cold fronts’ movement, it is possible that a cold front will bypass a warm front. As a result, the cold air mass will displace the warm air mass from the surface due to the density differences. Consequently, displaced warm air mass is referred to as an occluded front. The weather patterns behind the front are similar to the cold front. Likewise, the weather pattern ahead of the front is identical to the patterns of the warm front (Twardosz, Niedźwiedź, & Łupikasza 235).
A boundary exists in the mid-latitudes between the warm moist air and the cold dry air. An anti-clockwise circulation within the boundary can occur at the surface (Schultz et al. 1706). As a result, southern warm air is lifted up while the northern cold air is pushed down. Resulting phenomenon is called a cyclo-genesis. A mass convergence will occur at the middle of the circulation. In case the upper levels favor cyclone growth, the progression of the mid-latitude will continue. When the cyclone attains maturity, the pressure at the center will reduce. Consequently, the formation of an occluded front will be initiated. Once the occlusion is complete, the mass convergence will cease the phenomenon.
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Local forecast is a prediction of the possible weather occurrences in a given area. Meteorologists employ a number of tools in weather forecasting. Some of them include thermometers, rain gauges, anemometers, barometers as well as windsocks. The thermometer aids in knowing the temperature. A rain gauge is used to determine the amount of rain that has fallen. Anemometers are used to determine the speed of wind while windsocks are utilized to determine the strength of the wind as well as its direction. The atmospheric pressure is measured using a barometer. The instruments are used to determine various parameters. The information obtained is used with the known weather patterns to predict the forthcoming trends. Data processed through the models of various weather patterns helps predict the weather.
A thunderstorm is a heavy rain shower that is accompanied with lightning and thunder. A thunderstorm occurs due to three basic atmospheric conditions. First, there must be moisture. In addition, it is imperative that the atmosphere is unstable. Finally, a lift is required to initiate motion within the atmosphere. Thunderstorms result when exceptionally warm and moist air ascends into the cold air. As the humid air climbs higher, water vapor will simultaneously condense. Consequently, enormous cumulonimbus clouds are formed.
The evolution of a thunderstorm is described by a three phase process, which includes the cumulus, mature and decay stages. During the cumulus stage, the warm and moist air will rise in a form of a buoyant cloud. Alternatively, the air can ascend as a cycle of updrafts that are convective. Consequently, a cumulus cloud starts to form due to the condensation of the rising air. Condensation produces and disperses the heat into the cloud. Therefore, the clouds will have sharp as well as unique edges. The process will continue until huge clouds are formed. Above the freezing level, the water droplets become super-cooled. Therefore, there is co-existence of the droplets and ice. The Bergeron process will initiate precipitation. When precipitation falls and the cool air is collected, cool downdrafts are initiated.
The water droplets in the clouds become huge and thus, heavy. Consequently, raindrops begin to fall since the ascending air cannot sustain the drops. On the other hand, the dry air, which is cool, will enter the cloud. Due to the difference in the density of warm and cool air, the latter will move down the clouds. The downward will therefore drag the heavy water causing rain. Due to the rain, the cloud is cumulonimbus both downdraft and updraft (Grishin, Matvienko & Rudi 900). At this point, lighting as well as thunder might take place. The third and final stage starts after approximately half an hour. The thunderstorms during the mature stage start to cease. The updrafts are slowly dominated by the downdrafts. Therefore, the warm air is not able to rise anymore. As a result, the formation of cloud droplets is no longer tenable. The storm will gradually cease as light rains fall. Moreover, the clouds begin to disappear from the bottom to the top. Tornadoes result from harsh thunderstorms. They are associated with extremely elevated energy density. As a result, a tornado will affect an undersized area (Schultz et al. 1706). However, tornadoes are highly destructive within the area of occurrence. Additionally, their time span is also limited.
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To guarantee safety during a storm, an individual needs to be on the lookout for warnings. Whenever there is such warning, one needs to secure self in a well sheltered room. For instance, an individual may seek refuge in the basement. An extra protective measure may be to cover under the strong structure like a workbench or even a staircase.
Tropical systems occur over the tropical and subtropical regions. They result due to the occurrence of organized systems of clouds as well as thunderstorms. Moreover, tropical systems are characterized by the low level and closed circulation. The formation of hurricanes takes place over the warm ocean waters. As the circulation gains speed, a tropical system is elevated into a hurricane (Ballinger et al. 2290).
Hurricanes collect heat as well as energy in contact with ocean waters. Evaporation amplifies their power. When hurricanes reach the land, they cause havoc resulting in heavy rains in addition to strong winds. Moreover, hurricanes cause large waves that are able to destroy buildings, trees as well as cars.