China launched its biggest oceanic environment survey Saturday, to probe the conditions of its maritime space.
The program, sponsored by the National Bureau of Oceanography, will last two years and cover 1.02 million square kilometers of sea area off China's coasts.
Scientists will record data on water depths, waves, water levels, ocean currents, water temperatures and colors, mineral contents and plankton in four seasons.
The research findings are expected to guide development of the maritime economy, tapping of oceanic resources, maritime disaster relief and prevention, and oceanic environmental protection.
The program is part of a comprehensive survey and evaluation project on China's inshore ocean launched in 2003. There have been three ocean surveys since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
The first summer phase of the program is expected to take 1.5 months and involve over 3,000 surveyors who will begin research from the northeast coast down to the south simultaneously, said Lei Bo, vice director of the bureau.
The eastern part of the Chinese mainland is flanked from north to south by the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, all merging with the Pacific Ocean. Of these, the South China Sea is a deep-sea basin, and the rest are on the shallow continental shelf. The eastern coast of Taiwan Island is bounded directly by the Pacific.
(Xinhua News Agency July 16, 2006)