How do weather fronts affect the atmosphere?


Quick Answer

Weather fronts affect both temperature and precipitation in the region where a warm or cold front is overtaking the air mass in place. Two other types of fronts are called stationary and occluded.

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Full Answer

Weather fronts depict the changeover region where a cold front is replacing a warm front or a warm front is replacing a cold front. Both events cause temperature and humidity changes behind the front. Precipitation is likely to occur along a front.

Cold weather fronts typically move from northwest to southeast. The weather behind the front is cooler and drier than the weather ahead of it. The heavier cold air pushes under the warm air, causing it to rise and move away.

Warm weather fronts typically move from southwest to northeast. The lighter warm air rises above the colder air in front, typically producing clouds and precipitation. If the cooler air is relatively stable, light precipitation may occur, but if the atmosphere is unstable, heavy rain, snow or storms may accompany the warm front.

A stationary front is the boundary between warm and cold air masses when neither of the masses is moving. Occluded fronts occur when a cold front catches up to and overtakes a warm front that is also on the move.

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