Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Val L. Eichenlaub

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Chapter I


Orientation and Objective

The concept of the air mass was developed by a group of Norwegian meteorologists during World War I. An air mass, they said, was a body of air which was horizontally homogeneous with respect to temperature and humidity. These bodies of air were classified according to their place of origin since the basic character of an air mass is similar to that of its source region.

Since 1932 when the first air mass climatology was written by Dinies1, the meteorological and geographical journals have published many studies of air mass movements and characteristics. The vast majority of these studies have been concerned with air mass characteristics and modifications, and not with associated local weather. These studies are termed dynamic climatologies because of their primary concern with general circulation patterns.2

In contrast to dynamic climatologies, synoptic climatologies attempt to depict local weather conditions as they are related to some aspect of the atmospheric circulation. Synoptic climatologies, then, are descriptive and explanatory methods of studying the atmosphere. Since the geographer is primarily interested in the surface weather and climatic situation of the atmosphere, synoptic climatology with its explanation of these surface weather conditions is of more value to him.

The air mass analysis which is presented in this investigation is a synoptic climatology because it attempts to portray associations between surface temperatures and corresponding air mass types. Hence, a causal relationship is assumed to exist between air masses and surface temperatures.