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thermocline

[thur-muh-klahyn] /ˈθɜr məˌklaɪn/
noun
1.
a layer of water in an ocean or certain lakes, where the temperature gradient is greater than that of the warmer layer above and the colder layer below.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900; thermo- + Greek klī́nē bed
Related forms
thermoclinal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for thermocline
  • The middle, or barrier, layer is called the thermocline.
  • The thermocline is the border between the dark blue at the bottom and the cyan.
  • The hot- and cold-temperature regions are separated by a temperature gradient or thermocline.
  • The middle layer of water is known as the thermocline.
  • Below the mixed layer lies the thermocline, a narrow zone of rapidly dropping temperature.
  • The plots are used to identify the thermocline and also can be used to understand the movement of water in the water column.
British Dictionary definitions for thermocline

thermocline

/ˈθɜːməʊˌklaɪn/
noun
1.
a temperature gradient in a thermally stratified body of water, such as a lake
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thermocline
n.

1898, from thermo- + -cline, from Greek klinein "to slope" (see lean (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thermocline in Science
thermocline
  (thûr'mə-klīn')   
A distinct layer in a large body of water, such as an ocean or lake, in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below. Thermoclines may be a permanent feature of the body of water in which they occur, or they may form temporarily in response to phenomena such as the solar heating of surface water during the day. Factors that affect the depth and thickness of a thermocline include seasonal weather variations, latitude and longitude, and local environmental conditions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for thermocline

oceanic water layer in which water temperature decreases rapidly with increasing depth. A widespread permanent thermocline exists beneath the relatively warm, well-mixed surface layer, from depths of about 200 m (660 feet) to about 1,000 m (3,000 feet), in which interval temperatures diminish steadily. The deep waters below the thermocline layer decrease in temperature much more gradually toward the seafloor. In latitudes marked by distinct seasons, a seasonal thermocline at much shallower depths forms during the summer as a result of solar heating, and it is destroyed by diminished insolation and increased surface turbulence during the winter. Water density is governed by temperature and salinity; consequently, the thermocline coincides generally with the pycnocline, or layer in which density increases rapidly with depth. The middle layer of water in a lake or reservoir during the summer is also called a thermocline.

Learn more about thermocline with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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