|MARITIME TROPICAL AIR MASS
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The maritime tropical air mass is most often felt in the Southeast U.S. with respect to the United States. In the
is shoved toward the equator but in summer it can cover much of the U.S. east of the Rockies. This air mass results
from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Stream and abundant high angle sunshine. The warm waters in this
region evaporate an enormous volume of water. Cold water currents tend to stabilize the atmosphere and produce little
evaporation while warm waters destabilize the atmosphere and add
moisture. The warm waters conduct heat toward the
low levels of the atmosphere. Temperatures in this air mass warm to highs in the 80's and 90's in the summer and the
60's and 70's in winter. High
dewpoints (generally greater than 50 F) characterize mT air. The majority of U.S.
thunderstorm activity develops within the mT airmass, most being by way of scattered
thermodynamic thunderstorms and thunderstorms out ahead of fronts. As the maritime tropical airmass moves over land
it begins to "pick up" characteristics of a continental climate. This is particularly true when the mT airmass
moves toward the North. The mT airmass modifies due to lower sun angles, drier land below, and cooler land below.