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China's icebreaker Xuelong-2 crew to conduct new survey in Antarctica



China's research icebreaker Xuelong-2, or Snow Dragon-2, arrived at Lyttelton Port in Christchurch, New Zealand on Saturday, marking the end of its oceanic survey mission and China's 40th Antarctic expedition.

The icebreaker will rotate personnel and replenish supplies in the port for a new round of surveys. 

From late January to early March, the Xuelong-2 crew is scheduled to carry out comprehensive investigation and monitoring of biological ecology, water environment, sedimentary environment, atmospheric environment and pollutant distribution in the waters adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula in West Antarctica, as well as Prydz Bay and Astronaut Sea in East Antarctica.

The investigations will mainly focus on biological, chemical, substrate and pollutant elements.

A view of western shelf region of the Amundsen Sea, January 6, 2024. /CFP
A view of western shelf region of the Amundsen Sea, January 6, 2024. /CFP

A view of western shelf region of the Amundsen Sea, January 6, 2024. /CFP

Xuelong-2 set off from east China's Shanghai with Xuelong last November and started a voyage on December 28 for the country's 40th Antarctic expedition.

It is the first time three ships, namely Xuelong, Xuelong-2 and the cargo vessel Tian Hui, have jointly carried out a Chinese scientific research mission in the Antarctic.

During the journey, researchers aboard the ship conducted comprehensive surveys of the hydrology, atmosphere, marine ice, biology and chemistry in the Amundsen Sea and adjacent waters.

One notable achievement was the establishment of a subsurface buoy array in the western shelf region of the Amundsen Sea. The ship's crew retrieved five sets of subsurface buoys they deployed and deployed another four sets.

It was China's first deployment of subsurface research mooring buoys in polar regions, enabling long-term observation of krill and different environmental parameters.

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China's Xuelong-2 icebreaker completes oceanic survey in Antarctica

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