Weather Front Animations
Compiled by Mark Francek ( This site may be offline. ) at Central Michigan University
Find animations for the formation and characteristics of warm, cold, occluded, and stationary fronts.
Cold and Warm Fronts, Prentice Hall (more info)
This Flash animation relates how precipitation and clouds form along cold and warm fronts. For the cold front, cooler air advances upon warmer air, forcing the less dense warm air upward. Clouds and precipitation form along the front. The warm front is characterized by warm air advancing upon a wedge of denser, cooler air. High level and then increasingly lower level clouds portend the arrival of the warm front. It should be noted that the towering cumulonimbus clouds pictured in this animation usually don't form in the winter due to insufficient temperature contrasts within the atmosphere. The animation can be paused and rewound to stress important points. See also the Exploring Earth site which shows a very similar animation but with smaller windows. Another, similar animation can be found here (more info)
Stationary Front, USA Today (more info)
These simple animated GIF's are activated with cursor rollover and picture the standoff when neither the warm front nor the cold front is advancing. On a weather map the stationary front is marked by alternating triangles and half circles with the triangles pointing toward the warm air and the circles pointing toward the cooler air. The overriding of warm air on the cooler air can bring several days of cloudy, inclement weather. While the front appears to touch the ground the actual boundary between air masses can be thousands of feet aloft and hundreds of miles away.