Arctic system is a component part of the whole global system that exerts direct influence on atmosphere circulation, ocean current circulation and weather shift. It is one of the driving forces of the global weather changes. In the tide of recent "global shift" study, the core of it can be generalized as knowledge and prediction to the environment metamorphosis of the whole global system. So the Arctic study also sets "environment" and "prediction" as its fundamental goals.
The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) founded in 1990 set up a specialized Global Shift Working Group in 1991 which decided the five key cross-discipline field of the Arctic study, with interplay between ocean-sea ice-atmosphere and their feedback (IASC,1992), Bering Sea Influence Study (BESIS), Baron Affluent Sea Influence Study (BASIS) etc being put at top of study list. At present, two international global shift research organizations, namely International Geosphere and Biosphere Plan (IGBP) and World Climatic Research Plan (WCRP) has already defined quite a few relevant plans including ACSYS, Global Energy and Water Exchange Experiment (GEWEX), World Ocean Current Exchange (WOCE), Ocean-Atmosphere-Ice Interplay (OAII).
Besides these, some regional international scientific research organizations and some countries also promoted relevant research plans. European Ocean and Polar Committee, European Scientific Fund planned a ten-year (19962005) Arctic Ocean System in Global Environment, the US also proposed several state plans such as Arctic System Study (ARCSS).
Since the 1980s, China has sent 17 official scientific expeditions to the Antarctica where it has its own icebreaker. It has set up two Antarctic research stations, namely the Zhongshan and Great Wall research stations.
The country now boasts a large team of scientists specializing in many fields of polar study and leads the world in certain areas of polar research.
China, a late comer to arctic study, has stepped up its efforts in this field over recent years.
Since the 1990s, about 10 groups of Chinese scientists have independently conducted or participated in international arctic research projects.
In 1996, China became the 16th member country of the International Arctic Science Committee.
In 1999, more than 50 Chinese scientists took part in the first government-sponsored arctic research project aboard the "Snow Dragon" icebreaker.