Xuelong sets off for 5th arctic journey
Updated: 2012-07-02 20:35
By Xie Chuanjiao and Huang Yaning (chinadaily.com.cn)
China's icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon", started its fifth arctic expedition trip on Monday after a stopover in Qingdao, Shandong province.
Xuelong, which is capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, will cover an estimated 17,000 nautical miles during the 90-day course, according to Yang Huigen, director of the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China.
"The expedition will be the longest and farthest among China's arctic exploration history and is expected to fulfill the most missions," Yang said.
Xuelong is carrying a 120-member expedition team, including one scientist from Taiwan and four from France, Denmark and Iceland as well as a number of marine scientists from Qingdao-based national institutes and universities.
The research team will conduct various tasks, including a survey on the impact of changes in the Arctic Ocean's environment on China's climate, arctic eco-system current conditions and its interaction with global changes.
The trip will include a five-day visit and research in Iceland. The icebreaker will then pass by the Chukchi Sea and Bering Sea, before arriving at the Shanghai port.