polynya

[ puh-lin-yuh ]

noun
  1. an area of unfrozen sea water surrounded by ice.

Origin of polynya

1
1850–55; <Russian polyn'yá,Old Russian polynĭi equivalent to pol(ŭ) empty, open + -ynĭi noun suffix

Words Nearby polynya

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British Dictionary definitions for polynya

polynya

/ (ˈpɒlənˌjɑː) /


noun
  1. a stretch of open water surrounded by ice, esp near the mouths of large rivers, in arctic seas

Origin of polynya

1
C19: from Russian, from poly open, hollowed-out

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for polynya

polynya

[ pŏl′ən-yä, pə-lĭn ]


  1. An area of open water surrounded by sea ice. A polynya can be formed by the presence of a heat source that keeps the area from freezing. A more complex process involves wind or ocean currents that carry ice away from the polynya, constantly exposing more ocean water to ice formation and resulting in the release of very salty, dense water that sinks to become part of a halocline.

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