China launches polar environmental assessments

China’s top oceanic authority on Friday launched a special project to research and evaluate environmental issues in polar regions.

The project will include the launch of five Antarctic expeditions and three Arctic missions over the next five years, according to a press release from the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

Researchers will focus on polar environments, climate change and disputes between different countries regarding polar interests, the release said.

The project will be “a new milestone for China’s polar research program,” the release quoted SOA Deputy Director Chen Lianzeng as saying.

In 2011, Chinese scientists completed 61 research projects at three Antarctic research stations and one Arctic station, according to a separate SOA report.

China’s polar research facilities also include the “Xuelong” (“Snow Dragon”) scientific research vessel.

Xinhua