With hundreds of "peace doves" swirling in the sky, an ultra-modern icebreaker started China's second scientific expedition to the North Pole from Dalian Port in northeast China Tuesday morning.
At 9:30 am, the National Bureau of Oceanography (NBO) and Dalian municipal government held a ceremony to bid farewell to the expedition team with flowers and salutes.
Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of the NBO handed the red flag to Zhang Zhanhai, the expedition's chief scientist, and declared at 9:58 am the start of China's second expedition to the North Pole.
A group of 115 scientists and logistics staff from seven countries, including China, the United States and Finland, participate in the 74-day research expedition in the icebreaker, named "Snow Dragon."
Zhang Zhanhai said his team would study the effect of the North Pole on the global climate, especially on China, and establish a comprehensive observation system for the Arctic region to provide first-hand material for China's polar region research.
China's first North Pole scientific expedition was carried out from July 1 to Sept. 9, 1999, aiming to collect scientific resources on the ecological system in the Arctic waters, the atmosphere, geology, fishing, and marine environment of the area.
Snow Dragon, China's third generation of polar expedition icebreakers, is equipped with advanced guidance systems, automatic steering and experimental systems, including a 200 square meter laboratory and ocean research instruments.
(Xinhua News Agency July 16, 2003)