Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science

Temperature

1. What is Water Temperature?
2. How do we measure Water Temperature?
3. What is the temperature of Narragansett Bay?
4. What can we learn about Narragansett Bay by measuring water temperature?


3. What is the temperature of Narragansett Bay?

The average surface water temperature of Narragansett Bay ranges from 32°F (0°C) in the winter to 68°F (20°C) in the summer. In the past few years the peak temperature in the Bay has reached 72°F (22°C) and in the summer of 2001 the temperature reached 75°F (24°C). The bottom water is cooler than the surface in summer and warmer than the surface in winter. The temperature varies in different parts of the Bay. In shallow areas, the temperature can get much higher than the average summer temperature. Narragansett Bay's temperature will depend on a combination of many factors (see below).



15.5°C 31°C
Landsat image showing the temperature of Narragansett Bay July 7, 1999. Image Courtesy of Dr. John Mustard, Brown University. http://www.planetary.brown.edu/~mustard/apurva/index.html
(Click for larger image)

In the summer, the surface water can get much warmer than the deep water and the surface water and the bottom water don't mix. When this happens it is called stratification.

Factors affecting the water temperature of Narragansett Bay:

How does the temperature of Narragansett Bay vary on daily and seasonal cycles?

Other estuaries can have very different temperatures than Narragansett Bay.

What is the water temperature in the open ocean?


1. What is Water Temperature?
2. How do we measure Water Temperature?
3. What is the temperature of Narragansett Bay?
4. What can we learn about Narragansett Bay by measuring water temperature?

       


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