Fronts, Clouds, precipitation, and Forecasting By Kirsten Ho


A front is the meeting place of two separate air masses. There are four types- Cold, Warm, Occluded, and Stationary. Fronts are associated with the weather in the middle latitudes.

Cold fronts are created when a cold air mass moves under a warm air mass quickly, and pushes it up. They cause thunderstorms, heavy rain, or snow through cumuliform, and are followed by cooler weather.
Warm fronts are created when a warm air mass moves over a cold air mass slowly, and pushes it under. They cause drizzly rain through stratiform, and are followed by clear and warm weather.
Occluded fronts are created when a cold air mass moves under a warm air mass, and then under a slightly less cold air mass and pushes both up. Occluded fronts cause cool temperatures, and large amounts of rain and snow.
Stationary fronts are created when a cold air mass and a warm air mass meet. If there's no wind to move either of them, they can stay there for days. They can cause many days of cloudy, wet weather.

Cold Front

warm front

stationary front

occluded front


Clouds are collections of water droplets and ice crystals. There are 3 types, and each are further classified by their altitudes- Cirrus, Stratus, and Cumulus, in the altitude prefixes "cirro-", for high altitude, "alto-", for middle altitude, and none for low altitude. The prefix "nimbus" on a cloud means that it is likely to produce precipitation.

Cirrus clouds are thin, feathery, and white. They form when there are strong winds in an area. If they become thicker, it means that a change in the weather is coming.
Stratus clouds form in large layers, when air is lifted into the atmosphere. Most stratus clouds predict heavy, continuous rain. Fog is actually stratus clouds that formed near to the ground.
Cumulus clouds are puffy ad white, with flat bottoms. They generally indicate fair weather, but the bigger they are, the more likely they will cause precipitation.

cirrus clouds

Stratus Clouds

cumulus clouds


Precipitation is water in solid or liquid form that falls from the air to Earth. There are four types- rain, snow, sleet, and hail.

Rain is the most common form of precipitation. They are produced from clouds when the water drops inside of it reach a certain size that must be around 100 times it's original size.
Snow forms when the water vapor in a cloud become so cold that they change directly into a solid. Snow can fall as single ice crystals or they can join to create snowflakes.
Sleet forms when rain falls through a section of the atmosphere that is below freezing. The rain turns into ice as it falls, which produces the sleet
Hail are balls or lumps of ice that fall from cumulonimbus clouds. As water vapor is forming into raindrops in the clouds, an updraft of air pushes them higher in the cloud, make it freeze. As it falls, it gets coated with more water vapor. It then gets sent up again, and the process continues until the hail is so heavy that the updraft can no longer carry it.






For centuries, people have been trying to predict the weather. These days, using maps of temperatures, clouds, and more, meteorologists and weathermen can predict a coming air mass or front.

This map depicts the temperature, and it can be used to see how much rain there will be(if used with a dew point map), as well as the temperature.
This map depicts the different dew points, and it can be used to see how much rain, or if there will be any rain in an area(if used with a temperature map), as well as the humidity and a speculation at the possible air masses in an area.
This map depicts different fronts and pressure systems, and it can be used to see which direction a front is going and what type of front it is.
Created By
Kirsten Ho

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