The temperature of water is a measure of how much heat energy the water contains. Temperature can be measured on many different scales. In the U.S. we usually use the Fahrenheit scale. On the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. Scientists usually use Centigrade (Celsius) scale. Water freezes at 0 oC and boils at 100 oC.
Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius = oC = (5/9) × (oF-32)
Converting Celsius to Fahrenheit = oF = [(9/5) × oC] + 32
Temperature of streams reflect the surrounding climate. Streams in warm climate generally stay warm throughout the year, while streams in colder climates tend to change throughout the year. The water in a stream is constantly mixing; hence, the temperature usually remains the same at all depths. However, in slow-moving waters, like deep pools, different temperatures at different depths are found. Riparian vegetation, snow melt, material on the stream bottom and banks, and industrial discharges all affect water temperature.
Visit our Temperature information page for more information on natural and human factors that influence temperature.
When in the field, measure both air and water temperature. Click on the tabs above for instructions on how to measure them.
Stream Side Science temperature instructions (great for laminating) and using with a group.