The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Siberian Polynya, Great Siberian Polynya

Reference work entry

Siberian Polynya, Great Siberian Polynya – water area in the Arctic Ocean free from ice (10–15 km wide, around 1,800 km long), where the moving mass of multiyear ice meets fixed ice near the mainland. The polynya consists of several parts – Vostochno-Severozemelskiy, Taymyrsky, Lenskiy, and Novosibirskiy. North from the polynyas, drifting ice is located. S. P. was discovered in 1810 by M. M. Hedenstrom between the New Siberia Island and (yet unknown at the time) the Bennett Island. S. P. influences the local climate, hydrological regime, and other processes. The salinity of its water is 35 ‰ and lower; the temperature is 1.8 °C. A. V. Kolchak was right to explain the existence of S. P. by interaction of currents and south winds, but he made a mistake assuming its circumpolar character (in fact its maximal length is from the White Sea “gorlo” to the Kolyma mouth; there is no continuous polynya in the Canadian Arctic). S. P. is the main source of multiyear ice formation in the Arctic Ocean and oxygen for the sea fauna. It is used for navigation.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016