Air masses and how they affect the UK Essay

1) Describe the pattern of air masses that affect that countryAn air mass is a large stable area of air which has little or no variation f its properties. The air mass will take on some of the properties from the ground on which it comes into contact with. The main property that the air mass ‘inherits’ is temperature.The pattern of air hitting the UK is as follows: the UK gets 4 different air masses affecting it, it receives the artic maritime from the north, the polar continental from the east, it also receives polar maritime from the west and the tropical maritime from the south. Our most frequent airflow in the UK is maritime, including polar and tropical air masses. When both cyclonic (low pressure) and anticyclonic subtypes are considered, maritime airflow accounts for a quarter of all climate patterns experienced in Britain, reaching a maximum of 35% during December and January.

It is when the two air masses meet that a front is formed and within it bad weather can be seen due to the differences of temperature and humidity.All the differing air masses bring differing weather patterns with it.The polar maritime tends to bring showery weather with sunny spells in between.The polar continental varies between winter and summer, in summer is it dry, warm and sunny and in winter it is very cold with possible snow, crisp, bright but frosty weather.The artic maritime brings cold weather, heavy storms (thunderstorms in summer bringing flash floods, and heavy snow fall in winter).The tropical maritime brings dull, mild, damp drizzly overcast type weather all throughout the year.2) Discuss the effect that 2 of these air masses may have on the weather and peoples activities.

The polar continental air mass brings in the winter the coldest weather of any of the air masses (-10�C) the rapid cooling of the continental land surface in the winter leads to the build up of cold, dense air over the UK, it absorbs high levels of water from the warm north sea and English channel as it moves towards the UK, this is known as advection. This moisture is quickly converted to snow.In the summer the polar continental brings dry, warm, sunny weather at around 20�C. As the air passes over the North Sea, it may pick up moisture in its lower layers and experience cooling.

This often results in hazy, overcast conditions with skies rapidly clearing inland.This type of air mass can have its pro’s and con’s; the snow it brings will be excellent for sport tourism such as skiing but not so good for beach resorts. Obvious heavy snow would close all transport routes – so there would be limited access to places, which in turn in a state of emergency the vehicles wouldn’t be able to get there, any trains or trams would have to be cancelled if it got too bad and even planes would be unable to take off.

Certain jobs that take place outside such as fishing and manual labour jobs will have to be annulled so a loss of income would be caused and also crop damage may occur killing the plants and in turn killing the farmers’ livelihood.The tropical Maritime air reaches Britain from the Sahara, coming in from the south west. In the winter it brings with it mild, damp conditions, with the air being a relatively warm 18�C at the time it reaches the UK.

With it being damp it produces stratus cloud and low level hill fog. In the summer it forms under the semi-permanent Azores High Pressure region, it is both warm (22�C) and moist. As it moves towards the UK, it travels over increasingly cool, northerly latitudes. If it cools below its dew point temperature, the moisture condenses out as cloud.Owing to the stability of the air, the clouds that form are layer clouds (stratus clouds) that will produce dull, drizzly, overcast weather. Away from the coast, air passes over hotter land surfaces and clouds may clear.

In the summer it is dry which gives rise to heat waves, particularly in the southeast. The lower layers are stable, often capped by a temperature inversion, under which haze may build up. Sometimes, instability develops above the temperature inversion, giving rise to thunderstorms.This type of air mass will affect people’s activities as it will determine what people may do with their day such as whether they go to an indoor museum due to it raining or whether they go to a theme park as the weather seems fine. It will also need to be known for certain jobs such as if you’re a fisherman out in your boat you will need to know about the fog that may occur making it dangerous for you to navigate.

The weather can in fact affect our eating habitats an example of this is whether or not we can have an outdoor barbecue, if it is raining the answer is no. In this type of air mass due to it being damp and drizzly it will affect what people may go out and buy, during this weather people are more lily to go buy a raincoat or umbrella then they are a mini skirt or swim suit. People are generally more active and out and about on the dry days, the rain is a real depressant on people’s lives in general unless it benefits them for such purposes as irrigation for crops.


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