In this video lesson you will learn about how air masses with different characteristics create weather fronts. You will also identify the different types of fronts, as well as what type of weather occurs along them.
What Are Weather Fronts?
A long time ago, armies didn’t have guns, grenades or fighter jets.
They fought on the ground, face to face. An army ready to fight would consist of lines of men, each line with a specific job. In general, the front line was a strong line of shielded soldiers forging ahead, protecting those behind it.Weather fronts act just like the front line of an army. Fronts are contact zones between two different air masses, and you can think of the air masses as the advancing armies, just with different pressure, density, temperature and moisture.
And just like there’s conflict between the battling armies, air masses ‘battle’ along fronts, creating changes in weather conditions. There are four types of fronts, and the type of front we get depends on which type of air mass, or army, is advancing over the other.A cold front is the contact boundary of an advancing cold air mass over a stationary warm air mass. Conversely, a warm front is the contact boundary of an advancing warm air mass over a stationary cold air mass. This makes sense – the front is described by the type of air mass winning the ‘fight.
‘On a weather map, you’ll see these symbols for a cold or warm front. The color helps you identify which type of front is moving in (blue for cold, red for warm), and the arrows tell you which direction the advancing air mass is coming from.
A stationary front is just what it sounds like: When neither air mass is advancing over the other.
They are both stationary, and so is the front – the armies are at a stalemate. Finally, an occluded front is when a cold front overtakes a warm front. This happens because cold fronts move faster than warm fronts, so it’s like one army is sneaking up from behind and taking over in a surprise attack.On a weather map, you will see these symbols for a stationary or occluded front. As you can see with the stationary front, neither air mass is advancing. With an occluded front, the cold air mass is advancing over the warm air mass from behind.