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

Estuarine Science


What is the water temperature in the open ocean?

The temperature of the surface ocean depends on your location. In the tropics, the surface ocean temperature is 20-25°C all year long. In temperate climates, like Rhode Island, the surface water temperature can be 20°C in the summer and 5°C in the winter. Polar regions have colder water temperatures. The summer temperature can be around 10°C and the winter temperature can be below 0°C. In general, Narragansett Bay is warmer than the open ocean in the summer and winter.

January 16, 2001
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  August 29, 2001
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The deep ocean is much colder than most of the surface ocean. Water below 2 kilometers depth is at a temperature of 2-4°C. The temperature of the deep ocean is the same all the time.

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