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A polynya /pəˈlɪnjə/ is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. It is now used as geographical term for an area of unfrozen sea within the ice pack.
A hole as large as Lake Superior or the state of Maine has opened up in Antarctica, and scientists aren't sure why it's there.
The gigantic, mysterious hole "is quite remarkable," atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, a professor at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus, told me over the phone. "It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice."
"This is hundreds of kilometres from the ice edge. If we didn't have a satellite, we wouldn't know it was there."
A polynia [sic] was observed in the same location, in Antarctica's Weddell Sea, in the 1970s, according to Moore, who's been working with the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) group, based at Princeton University, to analyze what's going on. Back then, scientists' observation tools weren't nearly as good, so that hole remained largely unstudied. Then it went away for four decades, until last year, when it reopened for a few weeks. Now it's back again.
originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest
a reply to: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
Well, our atmosphere is "zebra striped" with alternately rotating concentric rings of air. Those rings are more tightly packed at the poles, and less consentrated near the equator. The EU theory thinks that each ring is driven by a plasma column/filament connected to the sun. I think thats what drives tornadoes, hurricanes, and other storm systems. The plasma would have a thermal effect. With that in mind, if you think about the poles, the plasma would be much more concentrated, so possibly much hotter.
I'm just speculating. I'm sure someone like Phage will be around soon enough to tell me how terribly ignorant I sound.