Range of Ocean Temperature

  • The oceans and seas get heated and cooled slower than the land surfaces. Therefore, even if the solar insolation is maximum at noon, the ocean surface temperature is highest at 2 p.m.
  • The average diurnal or daily range of temperature is barely 1 degree in oceans and seas.
  • The highest temperature in surface water is attained at 2 p.m. and the lowest, at 5 a.m.
  • The diurnal range of temperature is highest in oceans if the sky is free of clouds and the atmosphere is calm.
  • The annual range of temperature is influenced by the annual variation of insolation, the nature of ocean currents and the prevailing winds.
  • The maximum and the minimum temperatures in oceans are slightly delayed than those of land areas (the maximum being in August and the minimum in February [Think why intense tropical cyclones occur mostly between August and October – case is slightly different in Indian Ocean due to its shape]).
  • The northern Pacific and northern Atlantic oceans have a greater range of temperature than their southern parts due to a difference in the force of prevailing winds from the land and more extensive ocean currents in the southern parts of oceans.
  • Besides annual and diurnal ranges of temperature, there are periodic fluctuations of sea temperature also. For example, the 11-year sunspot cycle causes sea temperatures to rise after a 11- year gap.