An oceanographic water mass is an identifiable body of water with a common formation history which has physical properties distinct from surrounding water. Properties include temperature, salinity, chemical - isotopic ratios, and other physical quantities.
Common water masses in the world ocean are: Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW), Arctic Intermediate Water (AIW), the central waters of various oceanic basins, and various surface waters.
See also 
- Emery, W.J. and J. Meincke. 1986 Global water masses: summary and review. Oceanologica Acta, 9:-391.
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