a body of air covering a relatively wide area, exhibiting approximately uniform properties through any horizontal section.
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Origin of air mass
First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for air mass
a large body of air having characteristics of temperature, moisture, and pressure that are approximately uniform horizontally
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Science definitions for air mass
A widespread body of air that originates over a large area of land or ocean and assumes the temperature and humidity of that area, with characteristics distributed fairly evenly throughout the horizontal layers of the mass. Air that stands over the Caribbean Sea, for example, becomes a warm, humid maritime tropical air mass, while air that lies in the Arctic regions of northern Canada takes on the cold and dry characteristics of its surroundings and becomes a continental polar air mass. When air masses of differing properties come into contact in the middle latitudes, they frequently generate storm fronts.
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