Polar Research at UW Oceanography

Arctic oceanography and sea ice research at the University of Washington's School of Oceanography.

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Coastal Polynyas

Polynya is a word of Russian origin denoting an area of open water in the midst of an ice covered sea. Coastal polynyas are areas of open water along ice bound coasts which are often created by strong offshore winds. As the ice is blown away from the coast, open water is exposed and refrozen, so that coastal polynyas provide a source of new ice production.

For more on polynyas, see Martin, S: Polynyas, from the Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences
download pdf © 2001 Academic Press. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted

ERS-1 SAR image of a coastal polynya in the Sea of Japan
horizontal scale is approximately 30km
© European Space Agency, 1992