This is a simple temperature-depth ocean water profile. You can see temperature decreases with increasing depth. The thermocline are layers of water where the temperature changes rapidly with depth. This temperature-depth profile is what you might expect to find in low to middle latitudes.
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Temperature of Ocean Water
Have you ever been swimming in the the ocean? Was it warm or cold? The temperature of the surface waters of the ocean depends a lot on location, the season and the weather. The average temperature of the ocean surface waters is about 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit). That's a little chilly for swimming, but not too bad!
The ocean is a lot deeper than we can see from the beach though. It goes for miles and miles down at points. This deep part of the ocean gets very, very cold. Much of this deep ocean water is between only 0-3 degrees Celsius (32-37.5 degrees Fahrenheit)!
Sometimes temperature is measured with a thermometer on a floating buoy (like the buoys set into the ocean by the Argo program). Scientists measure the temperature of deeper ocean water with a CTD instrument, where the instrument is placed in the ocean water from a ship or a dock. Over the last 30-50 years, it has been found that the ocean is warming.
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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!
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