China / Innovation

Xuelong to set off for 5th arctic journey

By Xie Chuanjiao ( Updated: 2012-06-26 20:30

China's icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", will set sail on its fifth Arctic expedition journey on July 2, after a four-day stopover in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province.

Xuelong, an A-2 class icebreaker capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, will cover an estimated 17,000 nautical miles over the 90-day course, the Chinese vessel's first trip along the northeastern nautical route to the North Pole.

"A 120-member expedition team, including one scientist from Taiwan and four from France, Denmark and Iceland, will board the ship, and they will spend 512 hours in total in research," Qu Tanzhou, chief director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, said at a news conference in Qingdao on June 26.

During the expedition, scientists aboard the Xuelong will study how environmental changes in the arctic region have affected China's climate.

"China is accelerating its pace in exploring the North Pole. With nearly 30 years' development in polar expeditions, China has built the Arctic Yellow River Station in Svalbard, Norway," Qu said.

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