A Chinese scientific expedition left Beijing Tuesday morning for the North Pole to build the nation's first research station in Norway's Svalbad Islands within the Arctic Circle.
The 17-member team of scientists and journalists is expected to conduct a 20-day research project in the North Pole area and build the China Yilite-Morning Arctic Scientific Expedition and Research Station there.
At the conclusion of the three-year project, the longest of its kind made by China, the new, advanced research station will provide Chinese scientists with accommodation and continuous monitoring and communication capabilities, said Gao Dengyi, the team leader and a scientist on atmospheric physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Scientists will conduct thorough research on the region's climate, environment and resources. They will also accumulate experience and prepare themselves for the future construction of a permanent scientific research station.
As the Arctic region is one of the world's most sensitive areas to the global climate and environmental change, a long-term scientific study of the area's weather, environment, resources and biology is important, Gao said.
After a brief stay in the Norwegian city of Troms, also within the Arctic Circle, the group will arrive in the Svalbad Islands Wednesday and start their construction work there.
Being the closest polar region to China, the Arctic has long been viewed by Chinese scientists as crucial to the country's development.
Ye Du, a scientist on aerology from the CAS, said that the vortex flow change of the region may have a strong influence on the winter weather in northern China. Likewise, the damage of the ozone may seriously impose impact on China's climate.
The study of the North Pole, regarded by the world's leading academics to be the "science of the future,'' can help mankind gain a better understanding of the earth and outer space.
Global organizations like the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change and the International Research Committee of the Arctic, have all labeled the scientific study on the Arctic as the world's priority.
(China Daily October 16, 2001)