METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
You have probably heard of a triple play and the trifecta, but have you heard of the triple point?
This writing is about the frontal triple point but I will mention another triple point you may
have heard of and that is for water. The triple point of water is where ice, liquid water and
water vapor can all exist at the same time. At a specific temperature (O C) and pressure (6.11 mb) water
has its triple point.
Okay, now to the frontal triple point. Three basic frontal types you will see drawn on surface maps are
the warm front, cold front and occluded front. The warm front is generally found to the right of the
low pressure center. It is where the warm sector is wrapping around the low pressure system. The cold front
is typically on the left side wrapping colder air around the low pressure system. Since the cold front
typically moves faster than the warm front, where the cold front lifts the warm front will result
in an occluded front. The triple point is where the occluded front, cold front and warm front
all intersect. This intersection point will have a great amount of lifting. If enough
moisture is wrapping in from the warm sector than big rains and storms can fire along the
triple point and along the fronts and wrap into the low pressure. There is a great
amount of wind shear also near the triple point and fronts. Severe weather will often fire up ahead of the
cold front, along the warm front and near the triple point where shear is enhanced. Below is a depiction
of a low pressure system with the fronts and where the triple point is located.