An air mass is a large volume of air, which acquires temperature and water vapour content characteristics based upon those of the region over which it moves/is situated.
There are 6 types of airmass affecting the UK, such as “Tropical Maritime” and “Arctic”. These greatly influence the type of weather we get here. If you ask a weather forecaster where the air has/will come from they should be able to give you an idea of the sort of weather to expect. At present we’re receiving “Polar Continental” air from the east. This has travelled thousands of miles from northern Russia, and is dry and very cold.
Because it’s winter in the northern Hemisphere, there has been relatively little sunlight to warm this air mass up along its journey from Russia (taking in Eastern Europe on the way) so the UK gets the left overs of a Siberian winter. Without the furry hats and vodka hangovers.
At present the air has taken a more southerly track than would normally be associated with a Polar Continental airmass, skirting over the NE Mediterranean. But because it’s so blooming cold (northern Greece and Turkey are below zero C) and there’s nothing to warm the air up on the way, the UK gets our lovely cold snap.
Please wrap up will you? That’s what Mrs Badger said this morning when I told her about my blog.