China launches 6th Arctic expedition

Scientists onboard the icebreaker Xuelong, “Snow Dragon”, have begun China’s 6th Arctic expedition.

They spent about three hours on the first research site in the Bering Sea on Friday night. A 200-kg CDT (conductivity, depth and temperature) instrument was put more than 3,000 meters below the surface to survey the sea water.

During the following 10 days, the team will investigate chemistry, marine life, geology, hydrology and atmospherics, said Pan Zengdi, chief of the team.

The Bering Sea is one of the key areas of China’s Arctic expedition. Water flowing into the Arctic Ocean through the sea accounts for 10 percent of all water in the Ocean; therefore, research is significant to the study of environmental change in polar regions, Pan said.

The team will also explore the Chukchi Sea and the Canada Basin.

Xuelong set off from its Shanghai base on July 11. The vessel, capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, will travel over 11,000 nautical miles during its 76-day voyage.

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