A stretch of open water surrounded by ice, especially in Arctic seas.
- Surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, some polynyas (open areas in frozen seas) remain open all year round.
- The biological oases are open waters, called polynyas, where blooming plankton support the local food chain.
- These forces move the ice to create open water, even in winter, in the form of linear cracks called leads and large areas of persistently open water called polynyas.
Mid 19th century: from Russian, from the base of pole 'field'.
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