Irregularities on Earth's surface also affect weather. A mountain range can dramatically affect the movement of approaching air masses. Suppose that a mass of warm moisture-filled air is forced to ascend one side of a mountain range. As the air is pushed upward it cools off and moisture begins to condense out, first in the form of clouds then as precipitation. This side of the mountain range will experience high rates of precipitation.
As the air mass continues over the top of the mountain range, it does so without its moisture. The winds that sweep down the far side of the range will tend to be warm and dry. The term orographic is used to describe changes in weather patterns like these induced by mountain ranges.
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