When a front passes over an area, it means a adjust in the weather. Many type of fronts cause weather events such as rain, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and also tornadoes. At a cold front, there may be dramatic thunderstorms. At a warmth front, tbelow might be low stratus clouds. Normally, the skies clear as soon as the front has passed.

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What is a Weather Front?

A weather front is a shift zone in between 2 various air masses at the Earth"s surchallenge. Each air mass has distinctive temperature and also humidity attributes. Often tbelow is disturbance at a front, which is the borderline wright here 2 different air masses come together. The disturbance have the right to reason clouds and storms.

Instead of causing clouds and storms, some fronts simply reason a readjust in temperature. However, some storm fronts start Earth"s biggest storms. Tropical waves are fronts that develop in the tropical Atlantic Ocean off the coastline of Africa. These fronts can develop into tropical storms or hurricanes if conditions allow.

Fronts move throughout the Earth"s surconfront over multiple days. The direction of motion is regularly guided by high winds, such as Jet Streams. Landcreates favor mountains deserve to additionally adjust the route of a front.

Tbelow are four various kinds of weather fronts: cold fronts, heat fronts, stationary fronts, and also occluded fronts.

Cold Front


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A side see of a cold front (A, top) and also just how it is stood for on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit:Lisa Gardiner


A cold front creates as soon as a cold air mass pushes right into a warmer air mass. Cold fronts have the right to develop dramatic alters in the weather. They move rapid, up to twice as quick as a warmth front. As a cold front moves into an area, the heavier (more dense) cool air pushes under the lighter (less dense) warm air, causing it to rise up right into the tropospright here. Lifted heat air ahead of the front produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and also thunderstorms, favor in the image on the left (A).

As the cold front passes, winds end up being gusty. Tright here is a sudden drop in temperature, and also additionally hefty rain, occasionally through hail, thunder, and lightning. Atmospheric push changes from falling to increasing at the front. After a cold front moves with your area, you might notice that the temperature is cooler, the rain has actually stopped, and also the cumulus clouds are reput by stratus and stratocumulus clouds or clear skies.

On weather maps, a cold front is stood for by a solid blue line through filled-in triangles along it, prefer in the map on the left. The triangles are like arrowheads pointing in the direction that the front is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at the ground level change from warmth to cold as you cross the front line.

Warm Front


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A side see of a heat front (A, top) and also how it is represented on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit: Lisa Gardiner


A heat front forms as soon as a warm air mass pushes right into a cooler air mass, presented in the image to the best (A). Warm fronts frequently bring stormy weather as the warmth air mass at the surconfront rises above the cool air mass, making clouds and also storms. Warm fronts move more gradually than cold fronts because it is even more tough for the warm air to press the cold, thick air across the Earth"s surface. Warm fronts frequently create on the eastern side of low-pressure systems wbelow warmer air from the south is pumelted north.

You will certainly regularly check out high clouds choose cirrus, cirrostratus, and also middle clouds choose altostratus ahead of a warm front. These clouds develop in the warm air that is high over the cool air. As the front passes over a room, the clouds come to be lower, and rain is likely. Tright here can be thunderstorms around the warm front if the air is unstable.

On weather maps, the surchallenge location of a warm front is stood for by a solid red line via red, filled-in semicircles along it, choose in the map on the best (B). The semicircles suggest the direction that the front is moving. They are on the side of the line wbelow the front is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at ground level are cooler in front of the front than behind it.

Stationary Front


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A stationary front is stood for on a map by triangles pointing in one direction and semicircles pointed in the various other direction.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner


A stationary front forms once a cold front or heat front stops moving. This happens as soon as two masses of air are pushing against each other, but neither is effective enough to move the various other. Winds blowing parallel to the front rather of perpendicular deserve to aid it remain in location.

A stationary front may stay put for days. If the wind direction transforms, the front will certainly start moving aget, coming to be either a cold or heat front. Or the front may break acomponent.

Due to the fact that a stationary front marks the boundary in between two air masses, there are frequently differences in air temperature and wind on opposite sides of it. The weather is frequently cloudy alengthy a stationary front, and also rain or snow often falls, especially if the front is in an area of low atmospheric press.

On a weather map, a stationary front is shown as alternating red semicircles and also blue triangles choose in the picture at the left. Notice just how the blue triangles allude in one direction, and also the red semicircles allude in the oppowebsite direction.

Occluded Front


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An occluded front is stood for on a weather map by a purple line via alternating triangles and also semicircles.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner


Sometimes a cold front follows right behind a warmth front. A heat air mass pushes into a cooler air mass (the warm front), and then another cold air mass pushes into the warm air mass (the cold front). Since cold fronts relocate much faster, the cold front is most likely to overtake the warm front. This is well-known as an occluded front.

At an occluded front, the cold air mass from the cold front meets the cool air that was ahead of the warmth front. The heat air rises as these air masses come together. Occluded fronts typically form around locations of low atmospheric press.

Tbelow is often precipitation alengthy an occluded front from cumulonimbus or nimbostratus clouds. Wind alters direction as the front passes and the temperature either warms or cools. After the front passes, the skies is generally clearer, and the air is drier.

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On a weather map, presented to the left, an occluded front looks like a purple line through alternating triangles and also semicircles pointing in the direction that the front is moving. It ends at a low push location displayed via a huge ‘L’ on the map, starts at the other end as soon as cold and warmth fronts attach.