Antarctica storms strand scientists in New Zealand, delay significant work

Icy storms in Antarctica have disrupted scientists' travel plans, stranding them in New Zealand and delaying their work.

Antarctica New Zealand staff were due to fly south on October 1 to set up Scott Base for the upcoming science season. But due to wild winds and snow, the McMurdo Sounds airfields have been closed.

That disruption has caused the longest delay in decades for the scientists.

Antarctica New Zealand general manager of operations Simon Trotter said even a two-week delay can be significant.

"Although weather delays are beyond our control, we deal with them every year. All we can do is re-schedule and wait for the window of opportunity," he said.

The scientists, including a team from the United States, are currently stuck in Christchurch. Mr Trotter said they are currently undergoing training they were meant to do when they reached Antarctica.

A US Air Force plane is waiting at Christchurch airport for the weather to clear, which Mr Trotter hopes will be on Monday.