China sends research expedition to Arctic Ocean
BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to install its first long-term deep-sea subsurface mooring system in the Arctic Ocean, to monitor long-term marine changes, the Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
The system will collect data on the temperature, salinity and speed of currents at various depths around 75 degrees north in the Chukchi Sea, where Atlantic and Pacific currents converge above the Bering Strait. That will allow studies of the impact on China's climate of changes in the Arctic, Xinhua said.
A trap will catch marine life for scientific research, it said, citing Chen Hong Xia, a member of the 122-member expedition team aboard the Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, an ice-breaker which set off from Shanghai this month.
The mooring system will be retrieved in 2009.
China is increasing scientific research at both poles at a time when global warming and high resources prices are raising international interest in Arctic and Antarctic territories.
It deployed a 40-day mooring system in the Bering Sea in 2003, and is building a new station at Dome A, the highest point of Antarctica, to study ice cores.
A Russian submersible planted a flag on the seabed of the North Pole last August, setting off a race among northern nations to increase their presence in the polar regions.
(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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