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Glossary Index

Avalanche Institute


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Also: Cold Front, Warm Front

The boundary between two colliding air masses. Air masses in the atmosphere tend to remain distinct and rather than mixing they displace each other. The term "front" supposedly came about as an analogy to battle fronts in war.

Warm Front

An air mass discontinuity where warm air is pushing back a mass of cold air and riding over it.

Cold Front

An air mass discontinuity where a cold air mass is pushing under warm air. The slope of the interface or boundary between the air masses is steeper than that of a warm front, up to 1:25

Cold front precipitation is usually sharply defined and consists of bands perpendicular to the front. Duration of precipitation is typically on the order of 4-6 hours.

This glossary is a work in progress and is made possible by AlpenPro.