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What are Types of Front?

The weather is so moody, isn’t it? One moment the sun is at its peak while the next, it has started drizzling. Do you know why it happens and how it happens? Well, then this article is for you. This article is going to talk about why does weather changes and what determines this change. You are going to look at one such interesting topic which is the weather fronts. This article will look at weather fronts and types of front in detail. You will then probably better understand how this weather is so moody! So, read this till the last to know more about it.

1. What is Front?

The two air masses that have different humidity or temperatures and have a boundary between them is known as a front. The systems of the front are known for defining the weather in the areas with differences in air temperature and humidity. Further in this article, you will read about the types of front. (See What States have the Worst Weather?)

2. How are Weather Fronts Named?

The word front is taken from World War II where two opposing fronts came out and battled during the time of war. Similarly, here, two air masses, with the difference in humidity and temperature come forward to battle in the weather fronts. Weather fronts are named after the temperature of the advancing air, relative to the air it is going to replace. The directions in which the air masses are moving and their characteristics are taken into consideration while naming weather fronts. Read the next pointer to know about the types of Front. Learn How to Write Weather Report?

3. What are Types of Front?

There are 4 types of front that affect the weather. They are named below:

  • Cold front,
  • Warm front,
  • Stationary front, and
  • Occluded front.

4. What are the 4 Types of Fronts And How do They Affect the Weather?

Let’s talk about the 4 types of front and how do they affect the weather.

  • Cold front: A cold front is the leading edge of the colder air mass. The short distances will usually experience a change in temperature. The moisture content also gets changed with the front experiencing higher moisture content while there is lower moisture content at the back. To identify a cold front, notice the shifts in wind direction. Sometimes, there are thunderstorms that are being developed ahead of the cold front. There is a sharp drop in temperature, as well as heavy rain, sometimes accompanied by hail, thunder, and lightning.
  • Warm front: Warm weather front is the leading edge of warm air moving northward and tends to move slower than the cold front. The chances of rainfall increase as the warm front approaches because of a heavy cloud cover. Afterward, the cloud clears and the temperatures warm rapidly too. The warm front comes with higher humidity.
  • Stationary front: In this type of front, neither the warm air mass nor the cold air mass is moving. On each side of the air mass, winds tend to blow in the opposite direction. Conditions are dry and clear along the front. However, clouds and light precipitation may develop if moisture is present near the front.
  • Occluded front: Occluded front is another type of front where a cold front overtakes a warm front. There are both warm and cold occlusions. In a cold occlusion, cold air is present behind the front. And so, in a warm occlusion, warm air is present behind the front. Precipitation from cumulonimbus or nimbostratus clouds is common along an occluded front.

5. What Determines the Type of Front?

JAN23 What are Types of Front

Let’s read about what determines the type of front. The type of front is determined by the directions in which the air mass is moving and the characteristics of the air mass. Check out 10 Places with Best Weather in the World.

6. What are the Symbols for Fronts?

Since you now already know what determines the type of front, let’s get to know about the symbols for fronts. All 4 types of fronts are identified using symbols, which are unique to each front. They are discussed below:

  • The cold front is represented by a solid blue curve with triangles on it. The triangles point towards the warm air and the direction in which the movement is happening.
  • The warm fronts are determined by a solid red line with semicircles on it. The semicircles point towards the cold air and in the direction of movement.
  • Occluded fronts are represented by a solid purple line with alternating triangles and semicircles on them. The triangles and semicircles point towards the direction of movement of the front.
  • Stationary fronts are represented by alternating blue and red solid lines with blue triangles and red semicircles respectively. The blue triangles point toward the warm air while the red semicircles point toward the cold air.

7. How do You Read Fronts?

Fronts are easy to read because there are specific symbols for fronts. So, here you are going to look at what these symbols for fronts represent and what is their meaning on the map.

  • The red curved lines with red semicircles indicate a warm front.
  • The blue curved lines with blue indicate a cold front.
  • A curved purple line with alternating triangles and semicircles represents an occluded front.
  • Stationary fronts are represented by a curved line with alternating red and blue parts. The red part has a red semicircle and the blue part has a blue triangle on it.

8. What Type of Front Involves 3 Air Masses?

The occluded front involves 3 air masses. (See What Wind Speed is Dangerous?)

9. What are Cold And Warm Fronts?

  • The cold weather front is the leading edge of the colder air mass. The moisture content changes in the cold front. To identify a cold front, notice the shifts in wind direction. Sometimes, thunderstorms also develop before the cold front.
  • Warm weather fronts have a slower movement compared to cold fronts. The cloud cover can become heavy before the arrival of a warm front and the chances of rainfall also increase. Warm fronts have higher humidity.

10. What Type of Front Has Clear Skies?

The cold front has clear skies. (Also read: How to Compare Weather in Two Places?)


Written by Alex Williams

Alex Williams is a PhD student in urban studies and planning. He is broadly interested in the historical geographies of capital, the geopolitical economy of urbanization, environmental and imperial history, critical urban theory, and spatial dialectics.

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