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The rate of change of temperature with displacement in a given direction from a given reference point.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Physical Geography) the rate of change in temperature in a given direction, esp in altitude
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
At sea, a temperature gradient is the change of temperature with depth; a positive gradient is a temperature increase with an increase in depth, and a negative gradient is a temperature decrease with an increase in depth.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.