MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: What is the differance between Maritime Polar and Continental Polar?

Date: Tue Jan 3 09:39:59 2006
Posted By: Ken Harding, Science and Operations Officer
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1136224217.Es


You are correct. Maritime refers to air masses that form over water, and continental refers to air masses that form over large land areas.

When an air mass forms over an area and stays there for awhile, it takes on features of that area. An air mass forming over northern Canada in the winter would be cold and dry a Continental Polar air mass.

Here is a great web site that will teach you all about air masses:

Here is a picture showing some air mass source regions for North America (from the above web site).

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