I inherited some computer code that estimates the dynamic viscosity of sea-water from the water's temperature. The formula in the code uses is

$$\mu = 2.414 \cdot 10^{-5} \cdot 10^{\frac{248.8}{T+133}}$$


  1. Is this a reasonable formula for approximating sea-water dynamic viscosity from temperature?

  2. Can anyone recommend a citation for this formula? I can't seem to track one down myself.

  • $\begingroup$ have you tried googling the numbers? 2.414 pops up in the wikipedia page about seawater. The exponent is more problematic, but you may try various adaptions of the numerical value (T absolute, T Celsius, T Fahrenheit, de-rounding (248.8 might be 248.78)? ) $\endgroup$
    – bukwyrm
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ The numbers here are close to yours: engineersedge.com/physics/… $\endgroup$
    – bukwyrm
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


Schoofs and Trompert Nov 2000, Journal of geophysical research; They seem to fit your numbers pretty good :

2.414 * 10^-5 * 10^( 247.8 / (T+133.15) )

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1029/2000JB900272 (page 25,575) - weird that some sources go with an exponent of x/T-y while others (as does yours) go with x/T+y .... you'll figure it out :-) ... and let us know!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very likely the plus ones are using T in Celsius while the minus ones are using T in Kelvin. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 23:03

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