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UPDATED: 12:56, July 17, 2004
China to inaugurate scientific research station in Arctic
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A team of 12 Chinese scientists will head for the North Pole next week to carry out research in the Arctic region and inaugurate the country's first scientific research station there.

The team will leave Beijing for Svalbard Island, Norway on Monday. Another two teams of government officials and journalists will follow in a week, said Wei Wenliang, an official for polar expedition affairs with the National Bureau of Oceanography.

Wei did not disclose the name of China's Arctic station, which had already been decided but was still subject to approval.

Yang Huigen, deputy head of China Polar Research Center based in Shanghai, has been appointed first chief of the station, according to Wei.

The station is designed to be a two-story building with a totalarea of 500 square meters on Svalbard Island. It has laboratories,offices, reading rooms, storerooms and dorms that can accommodate 20 to 25 staff. At the top of the building is an observatory.

Experts said the establishment of a station on the North Pole is an integral step for China to improve its understanding about the impact of climate changes in the Arctic to other continents, Asia in particular.

The first group of scientists will stay in the station for two months to carry out research on atmospheric physics, maritime lifeand meteorology.

In 1999 and 2003, China launched two Arctic expeditions.


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