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Significance of Arctic Research Expedition
The Arctic Region is about 21 million square km, about 1/25 of the surface area of the earth. It refers to the vast land north of the Arctic Circle (66033'of north latitude), including the Arctic Ocean, islands, tundra belt in the north of Asian, European, North American continents, and part of Taiga belt. Of the region, the land and islands cover 8 million square km owned by eight countries surrounding the Arctic, with the Arctic Ocean excepted, which remains still as international waters.

Because of their unique natural conditions and geographical locations, the South and North Poles play a crucial role in contributing to making a study of various global geological and geographical and climatic changes. The eight countries surrounding the Arctic founded the International Arctic Scientific Committee (IASC) in 1990 and then the Inter-governmental Arctic Council (AC) in 1996. Almost all developed countries in the north hemisphere carried out research on the Arctic. China joined IASC in 1996, becoming its 16th member nation. Nowadays since China has become more and more prosperous and the world is entering a new era, the country has come by its economic and natural environment construction and its sustainable economic development to have direct links developed with the natural environment and economic resources in the Arctic region.

Climatic and environmental process in the Arctic exerts a direct influence on China's climate and environment construction, which is closely linked up with the sustainable development of the national economy of China. So it becomes compulsory for Chinese scientists to study the climatic and environment problems in the region. Natural resources in the region belong to all peoples of the world. China has the responsibility, duty and the ability to take part in the peaceful exploration and protection of natural resources there. China's economic and social development already has a demand for the natural resources.

Besides these, the Arctic is an ideal place for conducting scientific research in many fields. China, with 1/5 of the world population, should take an active part in Arctic research and make its due contribution to the progress of human understanding about nature and the Arctic.

Arctic study is not only of scientific significance to the understanding of the polar system and of the whole global system, it is also of obvious realistic meaning for making a study of China's climate, environment, agriculture and resources. Take for instance,

1. The climatic system of the Arctic with a considerable influence on China's climate and weather exerts decisive control over the changes of seasons to bring in droughts, floods, wind and frosts to major economic areas in China;

2. Ocean currents of the Arctic have a strong influence on the land climate of East Asia and world ocean fishing. China boasts one thousand oceangoing trawlers to claim an annual yield of 500 thousand tons of fish of which it has about 1/4 from the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea or nearby;

3. Arctic study may provide some scientific data for carrying out the fight against droughts and land desertification in North China.




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