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July 5, 2014

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‘Snow Dragon’ prepares for North Pole

CHINA’S icebreaker “Xuelong” (Snow Dragon) is all set to leave its Shanghai base next Friday to embark on a sixth expedition to the North Pole.

A total of 128 scientists and crew, including six foreign experts and one from Taiwan, will take part in the 76-day trip, which will mostly focus on environmental research in the polar region, officials from the Polar Research Institute of China said yesterday.

The team will set up eight short-term and one long-term observation stations on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean.

“It will be the largest number of on-ice observation stations we’ve ever set up during an Arctic expedition,” said chief scientist Pan Zengdi.

“The location for the long-term station hasn’t been decided, as we need to check the condition of the sea ice,” he said.

Team leader Qu Tanzhou said the mission will also seek to determine how El Nino might affect the polar region.

“It is unknown how sea ice coverage will change if El Nino arrives,” Qu said.

“We will collect data from the ocean and the ice as part of our research into global climate change,” he said.


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