China to boost Arctic research

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China's North Pole expedition team [file photo]

China will beef up its effort to explore the North Pole and plan two Arctic expeditions before 2015, according to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

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, said Wang Qiyi, senior engineer of the National Climate Center.

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.

The country now has only one icebreaker, Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, for Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, which limits research time for the Arctic expedition.

As a major country in the Northern Hemisphere, China is greatly influenced by climate and environmental changes in the North Pole

Its Arctic research mission started in late 1990s -- after the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Canada and Japan. The researches mainly concentrate on physical oceanography, marine biology and marine chemistry.

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