Water Quality Parameters: Temperature

Temperature is another physical parameter of water that refers to how cold or warm the stream is. In water quality monitoring and scientific field research, temperature is measured in degrees Celsius. Celsius temperature data can be converted to Fahrenheit by multiplying the Celsius reading by 9/5 and adding 32.

The majority of trout streams in Montana require a temperature of 15-19 degrees Celsius or 60-65 degress Fahrenheit. Recording the temperature of your site stream/water is important because dissolved oxygen levels decrease as water warms up.

Also, the growth rates of aquatic plant and animal life increase with a rise in temperature, which can lead to excessive algae growth and increased turbidity. Some common phenomena that can influence water temperature include groundwater inflow, streamside vegetation (shading, or a lack of it) and water depth.


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The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.