Different air masses which affect North America, as well as other continents, tend to be separated by frontal boundaries. In this illustration, the Arctic front separates Arctic from Polar air masses, while the Polar front separates Polar air from warm air masses. (cA is continental arctic; cP is continental polar; mP is maritime polar; cT is continental tropic; and mT is maritime tropic.)
The Arctic front is the semipermanent, semi-continuous weather front between the cold arctic air mass and the warmer air of the polar cell. It can also be defined as the southern boundary of the Arctic air mass. Mesoscale cyclones known as Polar lows can form along the arctic front in the wake of extratropical cyclones. Arctic air masses in their wake are shallow with a deep layer of stable air above the shallow cold cool.