When a front passes end an area, it method a readjust in the weather. Countless fronts reason weather occasions such as rain, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and tornadoes. In ~ a cold front, there may be dramatic thunderstorms. At a warm front, there may be low stratus clouds. Usually, the skies clear once the front has passed.

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What is a Weather Front?

A weather prior is a shift zone between two different air masses in ~ the Earth"s surface. Every air fixed has distinctive temperature and humidity characteristics. Often there is turbulence at a front, i m sorry is the borderline whereby two various air masses come together. The disturbance can cause clouds and also storms.

Instead of leading to clouds and also storms, some fronts just reason a change in temperature. However, part storm fronts start Earth"s largest storms. Tropical waves are fronts that build in the dry Atlantic s off the shore of Africa. These fronts can build into tropic storms or hurricanes if problems allow.

Fronts move throughout the Earth"s surface over many days. The direction of motion is regularly guided through high winds, such as Jet Streams. Landforms prefer mountains have the right to also readjust the path of a front.

There are four different varieties of weather fronts: cold fronts, warm fronts, stationary fronts, and occluded fronts.

Cold Front


A side view of a cold front (A, top) and also how it is stood for on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A cold front develops when a cold waiting mass pushes into a warmer waiting mass. Cold fronts can create dramatic alters in the weather. They relocate fast, up to twice as quick as a warm front. As a cold former moves into an area, the heavier (more dense) cool air pushes under the lighter (less dense) warm air, leading to it to climb up into the troposphere. Lifted warmth air front of the prior produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and also thunderstorms, prefer in the photo on the left (A).

As the cold former passes, winds become gusty. Over there is a sudden drop in temperature, and additionally heavy rain, occasionally with hail, thunder, and also lightning. Atmospheric pressure transforms from fall to increasing at the front. After a cold former moves through your area, friend may notification that the temperature is cooler, the rain has stopped, and the cumulus clouds are changed by stratus and also stratocumulus clouds or clean skies.

On weather maps, a cold prior is stood for by a heavy blue line with filled-in triangles along it, choose in the map ~ above the left. The triangle are favor arrowheads pointing in the direction the the front is moving. Notification on the map the temperatures in ~ the floor level adjust from warmth to cold together you overcome the front line.

Warm Front


A side see of a warmth front (A, top) and also how that is represented on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit: Lisa Gardiner

A warm front creates when a warmth air massive pushes right into a cooler air mass, displayed in the image to the ideal (A). Heat fronts often carry stormy weather as the warmth air mass in ~ the surface rises over the cool waiting mass, do clouds and also storms. Warmth fronts move much more slowly 보다 cold fronts due to the fact that it is more daunting for the warmth air to press the cold, thick air across the Earth"s surface. Heat fronts often kind on the east side that low-pressure solution where warmer air from the south is moved north.

You will frequently see high clouds favor cirrus, cirrostratus, and middle clouds favor altostratus front of a warm front. These clouds kind in the warm air that is high over the cool air. Together the prior passes end an area, the clouds come to be lower, and also rain is likely. There can be thunderstorms roughly the warm front if the air is unstable.

On weather maps, the surface ar of a warm front is stood for by a solid red line v red, filled-in semicircles along it, prefer in the map ~ above the best (B). The semicircles show the direction the the front is moving. They room on the side of the line where the front is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at ground level are cooler in former of the front 보다 behind it.

Stationary Front


A stationary former is represented on a map by triangles pointing in one direction and semicircles spicy in the various other direction.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A stationary front develops when a cold front or heat front stops moving. This happens once two masses the air room pushing versus each other, yet neither is an effective enough to move the other. Winds blow parallel come the front instead of perpendicular can help it remain in place.

A stationary front might stay put for days. If the wind direction changes, the front will certainly start moving again, becoming either a cold or warm front. Or the front might break apart.

Because a stationary front marks the boundary in between two air masses, there space often distinctions in waiting temperature and wind top top opposite sides of it. The weather is often cloudy along a stationary front, and rain or snow often falls, especially if the front is in an area of low atmospheric pressure.

On a weather map, a stationary prior is presented as alternating red semicircles and blue triangles prefer in the image at the left. Notification how the blue triangles point in one direction, and the red semicircles allude in the opposite direction.

Occluded Front


An occluded front is stood for on a weather map through a purple line with alternate triangles and semicircles.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

Sometimes a cold front complies with right behind a heat front. A warm air fixed pushes right into a chillier air fixed (the heat front), and also then another cold waiting mass pushes into the heat air mass (the cold front). Because cold fronts relocate faster, the cold front is most likely to overtake the heat front. This is recognized as one occluded front.

At one occluded front, the cold air mass indigenous the cold front meets the cool air that was front of the warm front. The warmth air rises together these air masses come together. Occluded fronts usually kind around locations of short atmospheric pressure.

There is often precipitation follow me an occluded front from cumulonimbus or nimbostratus clouds. Wind transforms direction together the prior passes and also the temperature either warms or cools. ~ the former passes, the sky is generally clearer, and also the waiting is drier.

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On a weather map, presented to the left, one occluded former looks favor a purple line with alternative triangles and also semicircles pointing in the direction the the former is moving. It end at a low push area presented with a large ‘L’ top top the map, begins at the other end when cold and warm fronts connect.