Occluded forehead

Front in meteorology

Surely, if you frequently watch the weather on television, you have heard that there are several types of fronts. First, we find the warm front, then the cold one and another less common one called occluded front. Each type of front has different characteristics and environmental conditions necessary for it to take place. The occluded front is a mix of the cold and warm fronts.

Do you want to know more about the fronts in meteorology? In this article we are going to explain everything about the occluded front and the difference with the rest.

What is a front?

Types of fronts

Before knowing the types of front, their formation and consequences for the weather, it is necessary to know what a front is. When we talk about a front coming and that it is going to bring bad weather, we are referring to a strip in which two air masses of different temperatures separate. These fronts, taking into account the temperature of each air mass and which one is moving the fastest, we can classify them into cold, hot, occluded and stationary fronts.

The word front was extracted from the language of the military. This is because when air masses come into contact, they produce activities similar to what usually happens in battle. There are rumbles with electric storms, strong gusts of wind and downpours.

The functioning of these fronts it is determined mainly by the variable of atmospheric pressure. The set of atmospheric pressure values ​​that we find in an area according to the amount of air masses and their temperature is called atmospheric pressure systems. These pressure systems are guided by air currents, since the air tends to move towards the area where there is more pressure to where there is less.

Fronts can be affected by the morphology of the terrain. Air displacement is hampered by higher mountains and large volumes of water. In these cases, the dynamics and evolution of the fronts change completely.

Front types

We are going to analyze each type of front depending on the characteristics of each one and how they vary according to the rest of the meteorological variables.

Cold front

cold front

This cold front is caused by a strip in which we find atmospheric instability. It is caused because a cold air mass is the one that moves over a hot air mass. When advancing cold air meets warm air, a kind of wedge forms where it penetrates below the warmer air. Cold air has a higher density as it has a lower temperature so, as it weighs more, it tends to descend and occupy the hole closest to the earth's surface.

On the other hand, the hot air mass, being less dense, it is easily replaced on the surface and rises in height. When the hot air mass rises and is in higher layers with a drop in temperatures below 0 degrees, it causes the air to condense, giving rise to vertically developing clouds. It is these clouds that may bring atmospheric disturbances such as showers and accompanied by strong winds. At the higher elevations there will be snow storms.

As the cold front advances, we find a more humid area and when it has passed, it usually leaves a drier environment. When a cold front is advancing, it causes a sharp drop in temperature. Depending on the area where we are and the time of year in which it takes place, the cold front usually lasts between 5 and 7 days maximum.

Warm front

Warm front

The warm front is one in which the warm air mass moves forward to replace the cold air. In general, when a warm front advances, it leaves a trail of rising temperatures and humidity. Increasing these variables causes the atmospheric pressure to drop, so there will be some not very heavy rains. It is possible that some rains or gusts of wind could form tornadoes, if the surface allows it.

On the other hand, it is more common to see the fog in cold air when it precedes the warm front.

Occluded forehead

Occluded forehead

We are now going to explain the front most forgotten or the least known to all. And it is that the occluded front could be said to be a mixture of both. For this type of front to occur, it has to exist a slow moving warm front followed by a faster moving cold front. When this happens, the cold air is wedging the hot one and it is pushing it upwards because it travels at a higher speed.

It is then that the two fronts advance moving one behind the other. The line that forms and separates both airs is what is called the occluded front. In general, this type of fronts is associated with types of clouds as strata and are accompanied by light precipitation. They usually form in areas of low pressure and when those areas are weakening.

On a weather map, you will be able to see the marking of an occluded front because they are marked by a purple dotted line. This means that the signals of the cold front and those of the hot one are those that indicate the direction of the movement of the front.

Stationary front

stationary front

Finally, we are going to analyze the stationary front. It is a boundary that exists between two air masses. Each air mass is as strong as the other, so neither can displace or replace the other. We can find a great variety of atmospheric conditions along a stationary front. The most general are prolonged rains and overcast skies.

After several days, both fronts dissipate or become a warm front or a cold front. These stationary fronts are the most frequent in the summer time. The longer rainfall associated with them is responsible for summer floods.

I hope that with this information you can learn about the occluded front and its difference from the rest.

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