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Encyclopedia > Thermocline

The thermocline is a layer within a body of water where the temperature changes rapidly with depth.

Because water is not perfectly transparent, almost all sunlight is absorbed in the surface layer, which heats up. Wind and waves circulate the water in the surface layer, distributing heat within it somewhat, and the temperature may be quite uniform for the first few hundred feet.

Below this, however, the temperature drops very rapidly-- perhaps 20 degrees C with an additional 500 feet of depth. This area of rapid transition is the thermocline.

Below the thermocline, the temperature continues to drop with depth, but far more gradually. In the Earth's oceans, 90% of the water is below the thermocline. This deep ocean consists of layers of equal density, being poorly mixed, and may be as cold as 0 to 3 degrees C. [1]

The thermocline has been important in submarine warfare, because it can reflect active sonar.

When scuba diving, a thermocline of a few degrees can often be seen between two bodies of water, for example a colder upwelling or current running into a surface layer of warmer water. It gives the water an appearance of the wrinkled glass that is often used to obscure bathroom windows.

External links

1. "Temperature of Ocean Water", University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, University of Michigan. (http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Water/temp.html)

  Results from FactBites:
Bass Fishing Resource Guide®: Thermocline - The Barrier (787 words)
Thermocline: A transition layer in a thermally stratified body of water that separates zones of widely different temperature.
Temperature is really the key, but I usually fish the upper thermocline, which is generally what is suitable for most fish.
The clearer the water, the deeper the thermocline.
Discount Hunting Gear, Government Surplus, Ammo, Shooting Supplies, Camping Gear, Outdoor Gear at The Sportsman's Guide (1621 words)
The epilimnion is the upper warmest layer, and the hypolimnion is the deepest, coldest layer of water.
You'll find that the thermocline layer will be of varying temperatures, cropping an average of 1 degree for each 1.82 feet of depth in the warm months on the average or typical, lake.
The size of the lake is important because the larger the body of water, the lower the thermocline and related strata.
  More results at FactBites »



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