Skip to main content
Select Source:

thermocline

thermocline A steep temperature gradient that exists in the middle zone (the metalimnion) of a lake and gives rise to thermally induced vertical stratification of the water. The metalimnion lies between the relatively warm epilimnion above and the cold hypolimnion below. The thermocline may represent a temperature change of 1°C for every incremental depth of 1 metre of water. It may be short-lived, especially in shallow lakes where wind action can mix the water from different levels. However, it can exist for most of the summer period in temperate lakes and sometimes nearly all year in tropical lakes. A thermocline can speed up the process of eutrophication by preventing the diffusion of oxygen from the epilimnion to the hypolimnion (see eutrophic).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-2

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermocline

thermocline Generally, a gradient of temperature change, but applied more particularly to the zone of rapid temperature change between the warm surface waters and cooler waters at depth. In the oceans, this zone of rapid temperature change starts at 10–500m below the surface and can extend down to more than 1500m. In polar regions the thermocline is generally absent since the ocean surface is covered with ice in winter and solar radiation is small in summer. In thermally stratified lakes in summer the thermocline separates the warm surface waters (epilimnion) from the cooler deep waters (hypolimnion).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermocline

thermocline Generally, a gradient of temperature change, but applied more particularly to the zone of rapid temperature change between the warm surface waters (epilimnion) and cooler deep waters (hypolimnion) in a thermally stratified lake in summer. In the oceans this zone of rapid temperature change starts 10–500 m below the surface and can extend down to more than 1500 m. In polar regions the thermocline is generally absent, because the ocean surface is covered with ice in winter and solar radiation is small in summer.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-0

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermocline

thermocline Generally, a gradient of temperature change, but applied more particularly to the zone of rapid temperature change between the warm surface waters (epilimnion) and cooler deep waters (hypolimnion) in a thermally stratified lake in summer.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-1

"thermocline." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermocline-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Thermocline

Thermocline


A thermocline is a zone of rapid temperature change with depth in a body of water. It is the boundary between two layers of water that have different temperatures, in a lake, estuary , or an ocean. The thermocline is marked by a dramatic change in temperature, where the water temperature changes at least one Celsius degree with every meter of depth. Because of density differences associated with a change in temperature, thermoclines can prevent mixing of nutrients from deep to shallow water, and can therefore cause the surface waters of some lakes and ocean to have very low primary productivity , even when there is sufficient light for phytoplankton to grow. In other areas, the thermocline can prevent mixing of oxygen-rich surface waters with bottom waters in which oxygen has been depleted as a result of high rates of decomposition related to eutrophication. In temperate freshwater lakes, the thermocline is disrupted in fall when the surface waters become denser as decreasing air temperatures cool the surface of the lake. Cooler water is denser and sinks, thereby causing warmer bottom water to rise to the surface and mix nutrients throughout the water column.

[Marie H. Bundy ]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Thermocline." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Thermocline." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermocline

"Thermocline." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermocline

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.