Frontogenesis Identification



Frontogenesis is the development of a new front or the intensification of an already existing front. Generally, if the contrast between two air masses becomes greater, frontogenesis has occurred. 

Frontogenesis can be identified in many ways, most of which involve the comparison of current surface charts to previous one. 

Thickness isopleth gradients. 
Frontogenesis is indicated by the tightening of thickness isopleth gradient across charts. (Thickness isopleths are closer together on the current 1000-500 mb thickness chart than on the previous charts). Gradient tightening implies an increase in temperature advection and more temperature contrast between the air masses.

Isotherm gradients. 
Frontogenesis is also indicated by tightening on a surface chartís isothermal analysis. (Isotherms on the urrent surface chart are more closely spaced than previously).

Isobar Gradients. 
Frontogenesis can also be seen through isobar gradient tightening and/or an increase in cyclonic curvature across current and previous charts.

Frontal Inversions. 
Skew-Tís are another good tool to identify frontogenesis. If the frontal (temperature) inversion indicated by a Skew-T increases (becomes warmer with height) on the current Skew-T than it was on the previous Skew-T, there is greater temperature contrast between the two air masses, which indicates frontogenesis. 

Concept Mapping Toolkit
Insitute for Human and Machine Cognition
The University of West Florida