In an effort to better understand the drastic ice melt happening in the Arctic, Germany is sending a boat to drift with the ice for more than a year as part of the International Arctic Drift Expedition.

The vessel that will be set adrift is Germany’s Polarstern, one of the most advanced polar research ships in the world. It is designed for research and ice breaking. The plan, called the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC, is the first of its kind and will hopefully offer information never before available to climate researchers.

The plan is for the Polarstern, its crew and a team of scientific researchers to enter the forming ice near the East Siberian Sea and begin drifting from there towards the North Pole and then to the Fram Strait by following the Transpolar Drift. The length of the expedition coupled with the planned route will give researchers access to the full cycle of sea ice through the year.

Not only will the ship itself travel with the ice, but the plan is to also set up observation camps alongside the ship. “The ship and the surrounding network will drift with the natural ice drift across the polar cap towards the Atlantic, while the sea ice thickens during winter,” says the website that details the expedition.

Researchers already know the temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as temperatures elsewhere, but other aspects of the changing environment in the Arctic are difficult to predict and model. Year-round research on variables like temperature, atmosphere, evaporation and others is lacking which means climate models can’t accurately predict future climate change. Further information about Arctic weather patterns and climate change will help scientists predict how the Arctic is impacting climate change globally, as well as how the Arctic contributes to uncertainty within climate models.

The expedition is planned to begin in the Fall of 2019, and last at least a full year.