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Ice Moorings on Antarctic sea ice. Image: Craig Stevens

Antarctica: cool science in action

Journey to Antarctica


Antarctica may seem like a far off continent that has remained the same for thousands of years but Antarctica is changing and these changes will affect people all over the world. Antarctica has a major effect on world oceans and weather patterns. Scientists are working to measure changes in the massive Antarctic Ross Ice Shelf and surrounding sea ice to find out why Antarctic sea ice appears to be increasing while Arctic sea ice is decreasing. You will be able to join scientists at their field camp on the sea ice in Haskell Strait to measure ocean temperatures, salinity and turbulance and record observations around the formation of sea ice to better understand how Antarctica is changing due to ocean warming.

Watch the introductory video - mp4 file 52Mb or Watch on Vimeo.

Meet Shelley

Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher.


You will take the five hour flight from Christchurch to Antarctica aboard a C17 Globemaster aircraft. After three days of Antarctic Field Skills Training you will be ready to join the research team near Scott Base in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. This field trip is not for the faint hearted as temperatures in Antarctica at this time of the year can be as low as -40°C, so make sure you are prepared for a trip of a lifetime!

Field Trip Plan

Saturday 24  to Tuesday 27 October
Jump aboard the US Airforce C17 Globemaster aircraft in Christchurch destined for the great southern continent of Antarctica. Read the first diary about the journey and settling in at Scott Base. Watch the videos about Antarctic field training and see what the ambassadors have been up to by reading their updates.

Wednesday 28 October

Watch the videos about venturing out on to the sea ice on a skidoo to meet the K131 science team. Read the diary about why the scientists have come to this location in Antarctica and what they hope to find out. Read the ambassador updates, listen to the audioconference and view the LEARNZ Adobe Connect chat session.

Thursday 29 October

Watch the videos about tracking sea ice growth in McMurdo Sound and read the diary about the smart technology that is used to share sea ice temperature data. Climb Crater Hill and read about what the ambassadors did today. Listen to the audioconference and view the Adobe Connect chat session.

Friday 30 October

Watch the videos about the work scientists are doing out on the sea ice. Drill some ice cores and read the diary about recovering the sea ice temperature probe and measuring the water below the sea ice. Read the ambassador updates. Listen to the audioconference and view the Adobe Connect session.

Monday 2 November

Meet Gabby O'Connor, an artist working with NIWA, and see how scientists and artists can work together to share ideas with the public. Watch the videos about ocean currents, turbulence and super cooling. Read the diary about staying overnight at the field camp and the importance of the ocean to climate. Read about what the ambassadors have been up to in their updates and view the images.

Tuesday 3 November

Watch the videos to discover more about what the science team will be doing with the data they are now gathering and how this will help to make better predictions about the future impacts of climate change. Read the diary to find out more about how Antarctica affects the rest of the world. Read the ambassador updates. Listen to the recorded audioconference and view the Adobe Connect chat session.

Antarctica New Zealand 

Ministry of Education