Chinese icebreaker heads for 6th Arctic expedition

Updated: 2014-07-11 18:07


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SHANGHAI - China's icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon," kicked off the country's sixth Arctic expedition from its Shanghai base on Friday.

It is estimated that the vessel, capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, will travel over 11,057 nautical miles during its 76-day voyage, said Qu Tanzhou, the team leader and head of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

The icebreaker will follow its traditional route through maritime areas including the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea and the Canada Basin. And it will be helpful for comparison of the results against its previous scientific expeditions.

Its tasks will focus on the Arctic's quickly changing condition and its influences on China's climate and environment.

The highlights of the expedition will be analysis of the Arctics's marine hydrology and meteorology, marine geology, as well as marine life and ecology.

"By studying and comparing the two cold poles, people will get a better understanding of the chief influencing factors of climate change, which are critical to meet this worldwide problem," said Qu.

"We will make efforts to collect more original data to improve the overall evaluation and understanding of the Arctic environment," he added.

In mid-April, Xuelong docked in Shanghai, wrapping up the country's 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica.