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China to Participate in Int'l Polar Year Activities

China will participate in activities for the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008 that runs from March 1, 2007, to March 1, 2008, says a source with the Polar Research Center of China.

It would be the first time China had participated in IPY activities, said Zhang Zhanhai, director of the Polar Research Center of China.

IPY 2007-2008, to be launched by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is the fourth of its kind since the 1882/1883 seasons when the first joint polar expedition was organized.

Chinese scientists had drawn up plans for the forthcoming IPY expedition season, including a plan known as PANDA, which was listed as one of the core research missions, said Zhang.

PANDA was a multi-goal research plan that included deep ice coring at Dome A, the highest location on the Antarctic ice sheet, and a study of the interactions of the ocean-ice shelf-ice sheet system from Pridz Bay to Dome A via the Amery Ice Shelf.

The IPY is an international event during which scientists' carryout large-scale joint scientific activities.

To date, 31 nations, including China have set up specialized national councils on the IPY. More than 100 countries and international organizations have put forward 1,200 research topics or suggestions for the IPY 2007-2008 polar expedition season.

China has launched 22 Antarctic expeditions since 1984 and built two permanent exploration stations named Changcheng (Great Wall) and Zhongshan.

China has almost 10,000 Antarctic aerolites, or meteorite stones, including priceless Lunar and Martian aerolites, the third largest collection in the world.

China also launched two Arctic expeditions and built the exploration station of Huanghe (Yellow River) in the Arctic in July 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2006)

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