When cold air pushes into an area of warm air, is that a cold or warm front?


True. A cold front is defined as the transition zone where a cold air mass is replacing a warmer air mass. AnswerParty!

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warm front

A warm front is a density discontinuity located at the leading edge of a homogeneous warm air mass, and is typically located on the equator-facing edge of an isotherm gradient. Warm fronts lie within broader troughs of low pressure than cold fronts, and move more slowly than the cold fronts which usually follow because cold air is denser and less easy to remove from the Earth's surface. This also forces temperature differences across warm fronts to be broader in scale. Clouds ahead of the warm front are mostly stratiform, and rainfall gradually increases as the front approaches. Fog can also occur preceding a warm frontal passage. Clearing and warming is usually rapid after frontal passage. If the warm air mass is unstable, thunderstorms may be embedded among the stratiform clouds ahead of the front, and after frontal passage thundershowers may continue. On weather maps, the surface location of a warm front is marked with a red line of semicircles pointing in the direction of travel.

Atmospheric physics
Atmospheric dynamics (category)

Weather (category) · (portal)

Weather fronts

A weather front is a boundary separating two masses of air of different densities, and is the principal cause of meteorological phenomena. In surface weather analyses, fronts are depicted using various colored lines and symbols, depending on the type of front. The air masses separated by a front usually differ in temperature and humidity. Cold fronts may feature narrow bands of thunderstorms and severe weather, and may on occasion be preceded by squall lines or dry lines. Warm fronts are usually preceded by stratiform precipitation and fog. The weather usually clears quickly after a front's passage. Some fronts produce no precipitation and little cloudiness, although there is invariably a wind shift.

Cold fronts and occluded fronts generally move from west to east, while warm fronts move poleward. Because of the greater density of air in their wake, cold fronts and cold occlusions move faster than warm fronts and warm occlusions. Mountains and warm bodies of water can slow the movement of fronts. When a front becomes stationary, and the density contrast across the frontal boundary vanishes, the front can degenerate into a line which separates regions of differing wind velocity, known as a shearline. This is most common over the open ocean.

Cold front

A cold front is defined as the leading edge of a cooler mass of air, replacing (at ground level) a warmer mass of air, which lies within a fairly sharp surface trough of low pressure. It forms in the wake of an extratropical cyclone, at the leading edge of its cold air advection pattern, which is also known as the cyclone's dry conveyor belt circulation. Temperature changes across the boundary can be as much as 30 °C (54 °F)]citation needed[. When enough moisture is present, rain can occur along the boundary. If there is significant instability along the boundary, a narrow line of thunderstorms can form along the frontal zone. If instability is less, a broad shield of rain can move in behind the front, which increases the temperature difference across the boundary. They are stronger in the fall and spring transition seasons, and weakest during the summer. When they catch up with the preceding warm front, the portion of the boundary which does so is then known as an occluded front.

Air mass

In meteorology, an air mass is a volume of air defined by its temperature and water vapor content. Air masses cover many hundreds or thousands of square miles, and adopt the characteristics of the surface below them. They are classified according to latitude and their continental or maritime source regions. Colder air masses are termed polar or arctic, while warmer air masses are deemed tropical. Continental and superior air masses are dry while maritime and monsoon air masses are moist. Weather fronts separate air masses with different density (temperature and/or moisture) characteristics. Once an air mass moves away from its source region, underlying vegetation and water bodies can quickly modify its character. Classification schemes tackle an air mass' characteristics, and well as modification.

Occluded front

An occluded front is formed during the process of cyclogenesis when a cold front overtakes a warm front. When this occurs, the warm air is separated (occluded) from the cyclone center at the Earth's surface. The point where the warm front and the occluded front meet (and consequently the nearest location of warm air to the center of the cyclone) is called the triple point.

The trowal is the projection on the Earth's surface of the tongue of warm air aloft formed during the occlusion process of the depression.

The older of the models of extratropical cyclone development is known as the Norwegian Cyclone Model, developed during and shortly after World War I within the Bergen School of Meteorology. In this theory, cyclones develop as they move up and along a frontal boundary, eventually occluding and reaching a barotropically cold environment. It was developed completely from surface-based weather observations, including descriptions of clouds found near frontal boundaries. Developed from this model was the concept of the warm conveyor belt, which transports warm and moist air just ahead of the cold front above the surface warm front.



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