China to launch eight Antarctic, Arctic expeditions

September 25th, 2011 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Sep 25 (IANS) China plans to launch five Antarctic research expeditions and another three to the Arctic from 2011 to 2015, said an official Sunday.

China will launch the 28th Antarctic research expedition in early November and the fifth to the Arctic in early July 2012, said Qu Tanzhou, Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) director, at the annual seminar on China’s polar region expedition
and research in Shanghai.

In the 2011-15 period, Chinese researchers will focus on monitoring the weather and environment changes in the polar regions, Xinhua quoted Qu as saying.

Qu said climate change in the polar region, particularly that in the Arctic, will inevitably influence China, and the research would benefit the nation’s adaptation to climate change.

China plans to build a new icebreaker before 2015, which will form an Arctic-Antarctic maritime research team with Xuelong (”Snow Dragon”), an icebreaker that operated in Antarctica, said Qin Weijia, another senior official.

Qin said the plan to build the new icebreaker has already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s top economic planner.

China will have two icebreakers concurrently operating at both the north and south poles, Qin said.

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