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Scientists probe depths of sea for climate clues
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China will install a deep-sea mooring system in the Arctic Ocean to monitor long-term marine changes, members of China's third Arctic expedition said yesterday.

The system will collect data on temperature, salinity and speed of currents at various depths in the coming year, helping monitor the impact of environmental changes on climate globally and in China, researchers said.

A trap, as part of the system, will catch fish regularly for scientific research, said the members of the expedition team aboard the Xuelong ice-breaker.

The vessel is on its third Arctic expedition after an extensive refit in Shanghai.

Crew members will install the mooring system in waters around latitude of 75 degrees north in the Chukchi Sea.

As several currents from the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean converge here, the area is of great importance to scientific research on water variation, said Dr Chen Hong Xia, a member of the team.

The system will be retrieved by Chinese researchers scheduled to enter the Arctic region in 2009.

The Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, left Shanghai on July 11 with 122 scientists and logistic staff aboard.

During its 75-day expedition, the team will study the polar region's distinctive maritime resources and air quality, and conduct comprehensive research on geological and meteorological conditions.

China first deployed a 40-day mooring system to monitor changes in the Bering Sea in 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2008)

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