Definition of isopycnal in US English:



  • (especially of an imaginary line or surface on a map or chart) connecting points in the ocean where the water has the same density.

    • ‘Redfield ratios of remineralization are calculated based on chemical data analysis on isopycnal surfaces.’
    • ‘Vertical viscosity is used to essentially eliminate Montgomery potential gradient errors near the intersection of isopycnal surfaces with topography.’
    • ‘It is further shown that features of the spatial structure of isopycnal displacement and velocity scales may be inferred from a single station that measures potential energy fluctuations.’
    • ‘Since the isopycnal surfaces move with the fluid, this representation is in fact quasi-Lagrangian.’
    • ‘We anticipate that there will be unique problems in adapting various core isopycnal models to our new isopycnal system.’


Early 20th century: from iso- ‘equal’ + Greek puknos ‘dense’ + -al.