Q:

How does a cold front form?

A:

Quick Answer

Cold fronts are formed when air masses that consist of cooler heavier air move in to displace warmer air. An air mass is a large body of air that shares a relatively uniform temperature and level of humidity. Fronts are the atmospheric boundaries between two air masses.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Cold air masses are formed above polar regions and areas that have relatively low surface temperatures. Air masses can shift and move depending on the influence of wind patterns, changes in atmospheric density and even the earth's rotation. Frontal systems occur when an air mass of different temperature, density and humidity moves into a region to displace an existing air mass.

Cold fronts often produce precipitation, especially when displacing an air mass of greater humidity. Water vapor within a warm air mass is condensed by the colder heavier air contained within a frontal system until rain or frozen precipitation begins to form. Cold fronts often trigger thunderstorms and may produce severe weather, especially when there is a large temperature and humidify difference between the air mass that is being displaced. Cold fronts can bring about rapid temperature changes because they have a steep slope which causes the air in front of them to be forced upwards along the leading edge.

Learn more about Atmosphere

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the factors that affect global circulation of air?

    A:

    The main factors that affect global circulation of air are the rotation of the Earth and the heat from the sun. There are three cells of air circulation in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These three cells work together to create global air circulation.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the biosphere in terms of the levels of organization?

    A:

    The biosphere is defined as the layer of land, water and air towards the outer surface of the Earth in which living things are capable of surviving. It includes both the living things found on Earth and the non-living elements that support them. The non-living part of the biosphere is divided into three subdivisions, the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the most common gas in the air we breathe?

    A:

    The most common gas people breathe from clean air is nitrogen. Air is a mixture of gases, and the air on Earth contains about 78 percent nitrogen and about 21 percent oxygen. Argon, carbon dioxide neon, helium, methane, krypton, hydrogen and xenon are in much smaller amounts.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the definition of relative humidity?

    A:

    Relative humidity is defined as the amount of atmospheric moisture present, divided by the amount of moisture that would be present if the air were completely saturated. This ratio is typically expressed as a percentage. Since the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold is dependent on temperature, relative humidity is affected by both moisture content and temperature.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore