In order to be able to predict water temperatures in rivers which are to be harnessed for hydro power, it is essential to take into account the heat exchange with the atmosphere. It is often sufficient to predict average temperatures and temperature changes for periods of some days. A simple model for the heat exchange between flowing water and atmosphere has been developed for this purpose. The model offers a semi-empirical relationship between air temperature and water temperature.

In this paper the model is applied to the Orkla river in Central Norway, and it is demonstrated how analyses of diurnal variations of water and air temperatures make it possible to predict the downstream decay of temperature changes originating from man-made releases. As a result an average heat exchange coefficient is calculated for Orkla for the summer of 1980. This calculation indicates that the cooling/heating rate in the flowing water in Orkla is considerably greater than the one for lakes under the same meteorological conditions.