Location and Areal Extent of Polynyas in the Bering and Chukchi Seas


  • W.J. Stringer
  • J.E. Groves




Atmospheric temperature, Breakup, Formation, Infrared remote sensing, Meteorology, Ocean currents, Ocean-atmosphere interaction, Polynyas, Sea ice, Winds, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea


AVHRR imagery has been used to document the sites of 22 polynyas in the Bering and Chukchi seas. Two principal classes of polynyas have been identified that tend to be negatively correlated: (1) persistent polynyas, which are present much of the time and form off south- and west-facing coasts, and (2) north coast polynyas, which are only occasionally open and form off north-facing coasts. Median extent values characterizing 17 of these polynyas for six years have been compiled for the winter and spring months, and the results of attempts to correlate these values with synoptic meteorological measurements are reported. These attempts were not very successful, suggesting that more sophisticated approaches to the problem are required. Other factors, such as currents, may play a principal role in determining actual polynya extent.

Key words: polynya, sea ice, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, AVHRR imagery, statistics, location, area, wind, temperature