A polynya is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as a geographical term for an area of unfrozen seawater within otherwise contiguous pack ice or fast ice. A polynya (/pəˈlɪnjə/) is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as a geographical term for an area of unfrozen seawater within otherwise. Polynyas are areas of persistent open water where we would expect to find sea ice. For the most part, they tend to be roughly oval or circular in shape. polynya, also spelled polynia, a semipermanent area of open water in sea ice. Polynyas are generally believed to be of two types. Polynyas are large, persistent regions of open water and thin ice that occur within much thicker pack ice, at locations where climatologically, thick pack ice. This meeting is the first in a series of meetings and workshops concentrating on the changing nature of Arctic Polynyas. Two polynya systems were identified. A polynya, pronounced “pol-en-ya,” is a large area of open water surrounded on all sides by sea ice. Simply put, it's a big hole in sea ice. North of the polynya, sea ice shows varying degrees of thickness, perhaps the result of alternating windy and calm spells. Polynyas, ice shelves. Polynya is a Russian word used to describe areas of open water surrounded by ice. They occur both in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans and they. Baffin Bay hosts the largest and most productive of the Arctic polynyas: the North Water (NOW). Despite its significance and active role in.