Reference Work Entry


Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Science pp 91-92

Arctic front

  • M. Binkley

The Arctic Front is semipermanent, discontinuous, and tends to develop between the cold Arctic air mass and the intermediate Polar air mass, which is bounded in the south by the Polar Front. The front moves with the air masses and undergoes changes in sharpness and intensity as the air masses are transformed and the flow fields change.

The Arctic air mass is divided into continental and maritime air masses. The maritime Arctic Front is the result of the intrusion of freshly modified, cold, maritime Arctic air masses into the westerly stream. Sometimes the Arctic Front is in proximity to the Polar Front and the two merge into a very intense front with a double structure. The continental Arctic Front is maintained by the strong ocean-continental thermal contrast, but it disappears in summer.

The Arctic Front generally develops between latitudes 60°N and 70°N (Fig. 1). Over North America, the Arctic Front zone runs through central Alaska and northern Canada. In the North Atlant ...

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