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China's 26th Antarctica expedition starts cruising observation
Updated: 2009-10-12 22:34

ABOARD XUELONG: All cruising observations have begun prior to Monday noon on the icebreaker Snow Dragon, or the Xuelong, which took Chinese scientists off Shanghai Sunday morning for the country's 26th scientific expedition to the Antarctica.

China's 26th Antarctica expedition starts cruising observation
Members of the team of China's 26th Antarctica expedition wave as they depart for crusing observation to the Antarctica on the icebreaker Snow Dragon Oct.11, 2009. All cruising observations have begun prior to Monday noon. [Xinhua]

Scientists conducted biological sampling with China's self-made high-speed sampling equipment every six hours on the rear deck, with the aim to analyze the oceanic environment along the way on the basis of the distribution, categories and composition of the plankton.

In the chemical laboratory aboard the ship, scientists kept pumping marine water and collecting organic carbon granule and chlorophyl through a filter in order to analyze the transference and transformation of carbon and thereout deduce the global climate change.

An aerosol collector was installed on the dock which covers the driving seat to collect non-gas substance in the air around the clock. Vacuum sampling would be done every 24 hours to analyze components in the air with the help of gas chromatography method.

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According to Li Ming from the China University of Science and Technology, the collection of aerosols and gases aims at analyzing the distribution of pollutants in the world, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.

The researcher explained that the Southern Hemisphere consists of more ocean waters than land masses and ocean currents make it easy for pollutants to travel far, which in turn tends to exert an influence on the globe. Thus to pinpoint the Southern Hemisphere as a typical area for research will be more to the point in the study of the global distribution of pollutants.

Ship-based observation is an integral part of polar investigations. Such observation facilitates gathering from different latitudes of ocean biological, ocean chemical, ocean physical and ocean atmospherical data, which will enable scientists and researchers to conduct comparison.

Zhang Yongshan, senior engineer from the Oceanology Institute under the China Academy of Sciences who is put in charge of the ship-based observation, said that the ship-based observation will last the entire trip of the 26th expedition to the South Pole as it has always been the key ingredient of previous expeditions to both the South and North poles by Chinese researchers and scientists.

The team leader of the 26th expedition, Yuan Shaohong, said the investigation vessel, the Xuelong, is expected to sail from the East China Sea to the northwestern Pacific on October 13 before crossing the Equator on October 19.

The investigation vessel is scheduled to reach New Zealand's Christchurch which serves as the Xue Long's first supply port call en route to the South Pole.