China's 13th Arctic expedition team set sail from its peer at the Polar Research Institute of China, PRIC, in Shanghai on Wednesday July 12th for a mission that is expected to last through late September and cover a voyage of 15,500 nautical miles.
This Arctic mission will focus on two main regions of the Pacific sector of the central part of the Arctic Ocean and the mid-ocean ridge. It is to address four main tasks: long-term observation and monitoring of key environmental elements; geological and geophysical studies of the mid-ocean ridge and national projects for science and technology planning and international cooperation; atmospheric, sea ice, marine and subsurface environmental surveys, biome and resource research, and pollutant monitoring; and integrated research into sea ice in ice pack ice.
"During the current mission we'll study the middle Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Sector and Gakkel Ridge. Our research programs include those on the atmosphere, the marine environment, biotic resources, geological issues as well as those related to geophysics," said Wang Jinhui, captain of China's 13th Arctic scientific expedition mission in an interview with CCTV.
The latest mission is expected to enhance China's capacity in Arctic protection, countering changes and the evaluation of marine pollution. During the mission, scientists will also carry out research along with counterparts from Russia, Thailand and other countries.
During the expedition mission last year, which lasted 79 days and covered a voyage of 14,000 nautical miles, the team completed comprehensive observations of the atmosphere, ocean and ecology in the Chukchi Sea, focusing on addressing climate change and protecting the ecological environment of the Arctic.
Geographically, China is a "Near-Arctic State," one of the continental states that are closest to the Arctic Circle. The natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China's climate system and ecological environment, and, in turn, on its economic interests in agriculture, forestry, fishery, marine industry and other sectors.
Since 1999, China has already completed 12 scientific expeditions in the Arctic, with its research vessels Xuelong and Xuelong 2 as the platform, including a visit to Iceland as part of the Chinare 5 in 2012 - Snow Dragon in the Arctic.