The Polar Front and Jet Streams

The polar front is the junction between the Ferrell and Polar cells. At this low pressure zone, relatively warm, moist air of the Ferrell Cell runs into relatively cold, dry air of the Polar cell. The weather where these two meet is extremely variable, typical of much of North America and Europe.

The polar jet stream is found high up in the atmosphere where the two cells come together. A jet stream is a fast-flowing river of air at the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere. Jet streams form where there is a large temperature difference between two air masses.


This explains why the polar jet stream is the world’s most powerful. Jet streams move seasonally just as the angle of the Sun in the sky migrates north and south. The polar jet stream, known as “the jet stream,” moves south in the winter and north in the summer.

As wind cells get further from the the pole and closer to the equator, the cells get larger. The Polar cell lies between the North Pole and sixty degrees north. The ferrel cell lies between 60 and 30 degrees north and interacts with the polar jet. The Hadley cell lies between 30 degrees north and the equator and interacts with the subtropical jet.