The Average Ocean Water Temperature

The Average Ocean Water Temperature

The average ocean water temperature ranges from a low of -2°C (28.4°F) in the polar regions to highs in the Persian Gulf that can get up to 36°C (96.8°F) with an average of 17°C (62.6°F).

But how do we know that? Is the average simply taken between -2°C (28.4°F) and 36°C (96.8°F) to get the average of 17°C (62.6°F)?

Scientists are much more sophisticated and discriminating than that. Since 2007, they have utilized a global array of floats that constantly measure the temperature and salinity of ocean surface waters around the world.

3,000 free-drifting floats, called Argo (see photos on left), are a major component of the ocean observing system by measuring the upper 2000 meters of the ocean.

The array that took eight years to implement with the final repository for its data to be with the US National Oceanographic Data Center.

Argo is supported by 23 nations, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, European Union, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and the USA.

Even with 3,000 floats currently utilized, another 800 floats are necessary to be added per year. Frequently, more floats are needed because some areas of the ocean are over-populated while others have gaps that need to be filled.

Argo has developed a large user community in universities, government labs and meteorological/climate analysis/forecasting centers. The need for global Argo observations will continue indefinitely into the future, though the technologies and design of the array will evolve as better instruments are built, models are improved, and more is learned about ocean variability.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones