4 Sep 2008

Antarctic flights resume after long, cold winter

7:42 am on 4 September 2008

Flights resume to Antarctica on Thursday, ending one of the longest stretches of isolation for the team working at New Zealand's Scott Base.

The last flight left the base on 25 February, which means the team of 18 have wintered-over for more than six months.

It has been one of the coldest winters on record, with the temperature falling to -50°C on several days.

Chief executive of Antarctica New Zealand, Lou Sanson, says a lot or work is planned for the spring and summer season, including studying how sea ice is formed, and changes in sea ice.

He says the changes are critical to the Southern Ocean circulation system.