po·​lyn·​ya | \ ˌpä-lən-ˈyä How to pronounce polynya (audio) \
plural polynyas also polynyi\ ˌpä-​lən-​ˈyē How to pronounce polynya (audio) \

Definition of polynya

: an area of open water in sea ice

Examples of polynya in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Researchers at the University of Toronto-Mississauga found the polynya formed on May 14, 2020. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 15 May 2020 The Weddell polynya, however, formed much farther from shore. Ainslie Cruickshank, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Mar. 2021 The team found that, in order for a polynya to occur, there need to be a perfect storm of factors, so to speak. Aj Willingham, CNN, 11 June 2019 Records show that the 2016 polynya originally formed at the same time a storm swept through the region. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 11 June 2019 For instance, the deep water that upwells to the surface at a polynya can sometimes contain rich stores of carbon that have been sitting at the bottom of the ocean for hundreds or even thousands of years. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 11 June 2019 In 2016 and 2017, a hole of open water, called a polynya, appeared in the winter ice of the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. Aj Willingham, CNN, 11 June 2019 This circulation pushes more warm water toward the surface, which keeps the polynya open. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, 12 Oct. 2017 The polynya in question opened on September 9 in a relatively shallow area of water in the Weddell Sea. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polynya.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of polynya

1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polynya

Russian polyn'ya

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The first known use of polynya was in 1852

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Cite this Entry

“Polynya.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polynya. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on polynya

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polynya


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