An international team of scientists are heading to the Antarctic to work out how a growing amount of sea ice is affecting the warming of oceans.
Thirty eight New Zealand, Australian and French scientists are on the NIWA ship Tangaroa and will be on the continent for six weeks.
Last year it was discovered the amount of sea ice in Antarctica has increased by about 1% per decade.
New Zealand contingent leader Mike Williams said the research is essential, as a warming ocean will have detrimental effects on animal life in Antarctica and affect temperatures in New Zealand.
He said the group hopes to issue initial findings this year.