Tuesday, September 2, 2008

#14 China in the Arctic

11:40, August 03, 2008
Icebreaker Xuelong sails into Arctic

The icebreaker Xuelong, the carrier for China's third scientific Arctic expedition, sailed into the Arctic early on Saturday, and the scientists aboard will get down to their Arctic research soon.

The Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon," crossed into the Arctic region at 01:58 local time (1358 GMT Friday) with some 110 scientists on board. The Arctic region covers an area of 21 million square kilometers the North Pole.

Members of China's third scientific Arctic expedition celebrate their entrance into the Arctic region August 2, 2008. (Xinhua)

The team will conduct comprehensive observations and research on the the Chukchi Sea, the submarine plateau of the Chukchi Sea and the Canada Basin, and is scheduled to return to the Port of Shanghai, China, on Sep. 25.

Zhang Haisheng, chief scientist of the team, said that as the Arctic has a notable influence on the climate in China, the current expedition will focus its research on the Arctic climate change's impact on climate change in China, as well as the unique biological and genes resources, and Arctic geology and geophysics.

The icebreaker set off on July 11 from Shanghai and reached the Arctic Circle after a three-week journey through the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea and the Bering strait.

Source: Xinhua
Copyright by People's Daily Online, All Rights Reserved

Icebreaking into the Arctic

The USCGC HEALY embarked Barrow, Alaska, in August 2008 to map the US extended continental shelf, or ECS, in the Arctic Ocean (HLY 0805). Healy sailed again from 7 August to 16 September, 2009 (HLY 0905) to continue ECS mapping, joining with the Canadian icebreaker, the Louis S. St.-Laurent. The two vessels mapped together again in 2010 (see HLY1002) and 2011 (HLY1102).

As the only law professor on the science crew, I was along on HLY 0805 and 0905 to better understand
the science behind the legal process that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes for states making ECS submissions. As to why the US is mapping now, even though it has not yet acceded to the Convention, read on both here, and in the Law of the Sea notes below.

Thanks to
Vermont Law School and especially to Larry Mayer, Director of the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, for making my part in the trip possible.
Thanks, as well, to Adriane Colburn, for opening new windows on and for the deep.