What is a polynya?

po-lyn-ya n.
An area of open water surrounded by sea ice.

[Russian polyn'ya, from poly: open, hollow; Indo-European Roots.]

Adrian used to live and work at Halley, a British Antarctic Survey station on the Brunt Ice Shelf.

A polynya forms in winter off the coast. It is an area of open water while most of the Weddell Sea is covered in thick sea ice.

The polynya is vital to the local emperor penguin colony. It allows adults to get into the water to catch food for their chicks without having to walk a long way over the ice.

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