More than 500 scientists will travel to Antarctica to study "super-cooled" clouds that could hold secrets to predicting global weather and climate forecasts.
The project, involving Australian and United States researchers, will gather data on super-cooled cloud formations, which are clouds that remain as liquid water well below freezing.
The atmospheric scientists will use ships, aircraft and satellites to the study super-cooled Southern Ocean clouds as part of the Australian Antarctic Division voyage over Summer.
The research would be incorporated into climate models to improve global weather and climate forecasts in the high southern latitudes and across the globe, the AAD said.
Australian Antarctic Division atmospheric scientist Simon Alexander said the understudied clouds often occurred above the Southern Ocean and around Antarctica, but little was known about them.
"We are going to look at the composition of clouds, how much ice or water they contain, and determine how they affect the weather and climate of the region," Alexander said on Sunday.
From October through to March, Australia's icebreaker Aurora Australis, the CSIRO's RV Investigator and the US National Science Foundation's Gulfstream V aircraft would gather information on the clouds as part of the groundbreaking mission.
In the air, a United States research aircraft would collect information on the thermodynamic and physical properties above, below and within clouds, the AAD said.