New ship to boost Arctic expeditions

Updated: 2012-02-24 07:23

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China is accelerating its pace in exploring the North Pole with two Arctic expeditions planned before 2015, according to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

Climate and environmental changes in the Arctic have a direct and immediate impact on China, so Chinese scientists pay a lot of attention to Arctic research, a senior official with the administration, who declined to be named, told China Daily.

Take the recent cold winter in China for example. It is partially caused by the high Arctic pressure, said Wang Qiyi, senior engineer of the National Climate Center.

With the building of a new icebreaker in 2013, China can sail two polar expedition vessels at the same time in the North and South poles, largely enhancing its polar research capacities, the official said.

The new icebreaker, with an estimated investment of 1.25 billion yuan ($198 million), can push through sea ice more than 1.5-meter thick with 0.2-meter snow covering. Its cruising radius is 20,000 nautical miles (37,000 kilometers), according to a previous report.

He added the country now has only one such vessel, Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, for Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, which limits research time for the Arctic expedition.

New ship to boost Arctic expeditions

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