SciencePoles science journalist Jean de Pomereu is currently aboard the research and logistics ice breaker, the Xue Long (Snow Dragon), covering the 25th Chinese Antarctic expedition (CHINARE). As the first ever non-Chinese journalist allowed to take part in a Chinese Antarctic expedition, Mr. de Pomereu will document this season’s expedition with regularly published articles on the International Polar Foundation's SciencePoles website.
With 204 participants led by Professor Huigen Yang, developments during this year’s CHINARE expedition will be very interesting to follow as researchers conduct 36 different science programmes in fields ranging from marine sciences and atmospheric physics, and construction crews will continue to renovate China’s Zhongshan Station on the coast of Prydz Bay.
However the most anticipated part of this year’s CHINARE expedition is the work that will begin on the new Chinese Antarctic station, Kunlun. During the expedition, 28 members of the team head 1,200 inland to Dome Argus (Dome A) and start work on the station. Since Dome A is a plateau at the highest place on the Antarctic Ice Sheet (4,094 metres) in one of the coldest naturally-occurring places on Earth, it is one of the most strategic locations on the planet to conduct climate and astronomical research. The construction of the new Chinese station will make China an important presence in the interior of the continent, just as the construction of South Pole and Vostock stations made the United States and Russia respectively important players when they constructed their station during the International Geophysical Year 1957-58.