China's third scientific Arctic expedition on board the icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) set up a temporary research station on ice Thursday, to begin their research on geological and meteorological conditions in the area.
Because of excessive melting of Arctic ice, Xuelong came upon small floating blocks of ice even at such a high latitude, making it difficult for the scientists to find a large and intact expanse of ice to set up a station.
After over 10 days of observation, they finally found suitable ice, 1.8 m thick with an area of 0.5 square km, at around latitude 84 degrees north and longitude 145 degrees west.
Zhang Haisheng, chief scientist of the team, said that this expedition was witness to the quick melting of ice in the Arctic and it is also the first time that China has set up a research station at such a high latitude. This will surely contribute a lot to research into the impact of Arctic climate change on the world, he added.
Xuelong left Shanghai on July 11 with 122 scientists and logistic staff on board.
During its 75-day expedition, the scientific team will study the polar region's distinctive maritime resources and air quality, and conduct comprehensive research on geological and meteorological conditions.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)