characterized by early-morning ground fogs or low
stratus decks. Visibility is generally good except when
haze or ground fog occurs near sunrise. Convective
activity, usually observed during the daytime, ensures
that no great amounts of smoke or dust accumulate in
the surface layers. An exception to this is found under
stagnant conditions near industrial areas, where
restricted visibility may occur during the day and night.
Pronounced surface diurnal temperature variations are
observed in cP air during summer.
The convective activity of this air is generally
confined to the lower 7,000 to 10,000 feet. Flying
conditions are generally smooth above approximately
10,000 feet except when local showers develop.
Showers, when observed, usually develop in a modified
type of cPk over the southeastern part of the country.
The base of cumulus clouds that form in this air is
usually about 4,000 feet because of the relative dryness
of this air mass.
Maritime Polar (mP) Air Pacific in Summer
The entire Pacific coast is usually under the
influence of mP air in the summer. (See fig. 4-15.) With
a fresh inflow of mP air over the Pacific coast, clear
skies or a few scattered cumulus are generally observed
over the coastal mountains. As this air flows southward
along the coast, a marked turbulence inversion
reinforced by subsidence from aloft is observed. Stratus
or stratocumulus clouds generally form at the base of
the inversion. Ceilings are generally 500 to 1,500 feet
with tops of clouds seldom above 3,500 feet. The
formation of the stratus condition along the coast of
California is greatly enhanced by the presence of the
upwelling of cold water along the coast. East of the
Rocky Mountains, this air has the same properties as cP
Maritime Polar (mP) Air Atlantic in Summer
In spring and summer, mP air is occasionally
observed over the east coast. Marked drops in
temperature that frequently bring relief from heat
waves usually accompany the influx of this air (fig.
4-16). Just as in winter, there is a steep lapse rate in the
lower 3,000 feet of this mass. Stratiform clouds usually
mark the inversion. Ceilings are from 500 to 1,500 feet,
and the tops of the clouds are usually 1,000 to 2,500
feet. No precipitation occurs from these cloud types and
visibility is usually good. This air usually does not
constitute a severe hazard to flying.
Maritime Tropical (mT) Air Pacific in Summer
Maritime tropical (mT) Pacific air has no direct
influence on the weather over the Pacific coast. During
the summer season, the Pacific anticyclone moves
northward and dominates the Pacific Coast weather
with mP air. Occasionally mT air reaches the West
Coast; for example, tropical storms or typhoons
sometimes move northerly along the Baja Coast. This
synoptic condition produces a great amount of
cloudiness and precipitation.
Figure 4-15.Trajectories of mP air over the Pacific in
Figure 4-16.Trajectories of mP air over the Atlantic in