SKorean icebreaker on Antarctic mission

The South Korean icebreaker Araon is heading to Australia en route to Antarctica. (AAP)

The South Korean icebreaker Araon will head to Australia before anchoring at a research station in Antarctica on its ninth expedition.

South Korea's icebreaker is on its way to Australia as it embarks on its ninth Antarctic expedition to explore the marine ecosystem and study how climate change is affecting the planet.

The Araon departed from the western port of Incheon for its journey that will last 227 days, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries says.

The 7,487-tonne research ship will head to Australia before anchoring at Jang Bogo Antarctic Research Station in Terra Nova Bay in Antarctica before starting its research from mid-December.

The Araon, which measures 111 metres from bow to stern and can cut through 1-metre thick ice, will first cruise the Amundsen Sea in western Antarctica to examine the melting speed of ice bergs and ocean currents.

The vessel able to accommodate around 85 crew and researchers, will then move to the Ross Sea, a deep bay of the Southern Ocean, to study the changing environment of the oceans and glaciers. Researchers plan to install an underwater seismometer to regularly monitor earthquakes.

Lastly, the ship plans to navigate the Weddell Sea to explore the Larsen C ice shelf, the fourth-largest ice shelf in Antarctica spanning an area of about 55,000 square kilometres, half the size of South Korea.

The ice-breaking vessel has explored the South and North Pole regions on eight missions since 2009 as part of global efforts to examine the cause of global warming and study the Arctic ecosystem.

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