DMPQ- Discuss the factors affecting temperature distribution of Ocean water.

The following factors affect the distribution of temperature of ocean water:


The temperature of surface water decreases from equator towards the poles because the sun’s rays become more and more slanting and thus the amount of insolation decreases poleward accordingly. The temperature of surface water between 40°N and 40°S is lower than air temperature but it becomes higher than air temperature between 40th latitude and the poles in both the hemispheres.

Unequal distribution of land and water

The temperature of ocean water varies in the northern and the southern hemispheres because of dominance of land in the former and water in the latter. The oceans in the northern hemisphere receive more heat due to their contact with larger extent of land than their counter­parts in the southern hemisphere and thus the tempera­ture of surface water is comparatively higher in the former than the latter.

Prevailing wind

Wind direction largely af­fects the distribution of temperature of ocean water. The winds blowing from the land towards the oceans and seas (e.g., offshore winds) drive warm surface water away from the coast resulting into upwelling of cold bottom water from below. Thus, the replacement of warm water by cold water introduces longitudinal variation in temperature. Contrary to this, the onshore winds pile up warm water near the coast and thus raise the temperature.

Ocean currents

Surface temperatures of the oceans are controlled by warm and cold currents. Warm currents raise the temperature of the affected areas whereas cool currents lower down the temperature. For example, the Gulf Stream raises the temperature near the eastern coasts of N. America and the western coasts of Europe.

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