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Front (Hydroform Class)

Component: Hydroform

Unique Identifier: 670

Hydroform Class Front
Hydroform Coastal Upwelling Front
Shelf-break Front
Tidal Front

Definition Front Hydroforms are linear features formed at the conjunction of two or more water masses with different properties. Fronts are formed in many different ways when two water masses juxtapose. The front itself becomes a third water feature, and it has several distinctive properties of its own, including current speed and direction, physicochemical properties derived from the two merging water masses, sharp gradients in properties (such as salinity, temperature, nutrients and water clarity) and an accumulation of matter and biota. In estuaries, fronts can occur at the boundaries of horizontal layers between fresher upper layers and saltier bottom waters; in the ocean, fronts can occur between the upper mixed layer and lower layers.