Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An area of open water surrounded by sea ice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A naturally-formed area of open water surrounded by sea ice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stretch of open water surrounded by ice (especially in Arctic seas)

Etymologies

Russian polyn'ya, from polyĭ, open, hollow; see pelə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Russian полынья (polyn’já, "ice hole"), from полый (pólyj, "hollow") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One recent UAV mission in Antarctica examined a polar ocean feature called a polynya, which is an area of open ocean surrounded on all sides by either a coast, sea ice, or both.

    Livescience.com

  • A polynya is a large area of open water surrounded by sea ice that is found in the same region year after year.

    Arctic Ocean

  • Third: if the polynya was a freak occurence then you wouldn’t expect to see the Beaufort frozen over on July 25th every year. 2006 was just an accident.

    AGU Fall Meeting « Climate Audit

  • The goal was to map water conditions in the Ross Sea "polynya," a region of open water surrounded by sea ice, where the plankton blooms every Antarctic summer.

    Research robots roam the Ross Sea

  • Reprogrammed to deal with the unexpectedly strong current, the first seaglider also made its way from the whale breathing hole to the polynya region.

    Research robots roam the Ross Sea

  • Beating back against the ocean current by tacking like a sailboat, GOE-3 made its way into the polynya to perform its mapping mission.

    Research robots roam the Ross Sea

  • Sea-ice production in the source region in winter is enhanced within a polynya (the North Water) formed by the persistent southward drift of ice.

    Marine Arctic

  • In the St. Lawrence Island polynya region, changes in regional oceanography due to the position or size of the Gulf of Anadyr gyre are ultimately related to the northward transport of water through the Bering Strait, and to the geostrophic balance within the Arctic Ocean basin.

    Past variability in Arctic marine systems

  • However, it is possible that an enhanced and more energetic polynya could result from warming.

    Past variability in Arctic marine systems

  • The Gulf of Anadyr "cold pool" is maintained by sea-ice production and brine formation in the St. Lawrence Island polynya.

    Past variability in Arctic marine systems

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