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China to Establish First Arctic Station in September
Chinese scientists left Shanghai Thursday aboard the scientific ship Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, for a second expedition to the Arctic region where they will conduct research and prepare for the setup of China's first Arctic station next September.

Setting off from east China's Shanghai, the team will make a short stop at the northeastern Chinese port city Dalian, before they finish 14,000-sea-mile voyage to arrive in the Arctic.

According to scientists, the objective of this trip is to probe reactions of the Arctic region to global climatic changes and its impact in return on those changes, and to analyze Arctic influences on weather in the Chinese territory.

China expects to establish its first state-level research laboratory in the Arctic region on the Svalbard Islands, and its second scientific adventure will contribute to setting up an essentially full-service monitoring system in that region.

This mission will be highly dependent on the use of high technology, according to scientists. The area put under monitoring will be extended to a larger scope with the support from the ship-carried helicopter and boats.

The overall inspection combining surveys of air, land and water will be made in the Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea and the Canadian Basin.

According to the scientists, they will set up a temporary monitoring station on floating ice in the Arctic Ocean, working on deploying satellite-tracked buoys both on the sea surface and submerged in the water.

A helicopter will be used, coordinated by satellite-aided remote sensing imaging, to complete a comprehensive field research of the physical, chemical, biological, geological features of the ocean, as well as research of the atmosphere and weather.

The Arctic is a vital part of the global climatic system, and changes there lead to changes in atmospheric and oceanic circumfluence. Further research in recent years has proven that global warming has caused shrinking icecaps in the region.

Scientists anticipated that glaciers in the Arctic will retreat at an even larger scale in the 21st century and ice in the surrounding sea will reduce further, causing disastrous effects on the rising sea level. The resulting interactions will result in fundamental changes in the Arctic environment and also have a dramatic impact on living conditions of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

Chinese scientists initiated their first Arctic exploring efforts in 1999. They will be joined this time by 16 experts from countries including Canada, Finland, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States.

The scientists are expected to return to Shanghai on Sept. 26 after they fully wrap up their missions.

(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2003)

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