China is conducting its fifth national Arctic research expedition this summer. Arctic research is relevant to China in numerous ways, including climate change research and shipping in the Arctic.
The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) in Beijing is an umbrella for polar affairs in China, administrating them ith an advisory committee participated by 13 ministries/agencies of the central government. Under SOA he also Beijing-based Chinese Arctic and Antarctic administration (CAA) organizes the CHINARE programs, which are participated by research institutes and universities, and administrates polar affairs for the SOA.
While its Shanghai-based partner institute the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) provides logistic supports to CHINARE and hubs the polar research community. PRIC has operated four earlier CHINARE to the Arctic region and furthermore operates a research station in Svalbard. CHINARE has also conducted 28 research expeditions to the Antarctica, where PRIC operates three research stations.
PRIC's main research areas on the Polar Regions include oceanography, upper atmospheric physics, marine metrology and geology, glaciology and sea ice, marine biology and ecology, in addition to social sciences such as law, economics and politics.
PRIC has four main responsibilities:
1. To conduct scientific, environmental, strategic and technological research in the Polar Regions.
2. To be in charge of the national polar scientific research infrastructure.
3. To manage and operate the national polar activity logistics and facilities (e.g. research stations, vessels and aircrafts).
4. To conduct international cooperation, education and outreach on polar research.
PRIC has around 160 employees and a total of nine sections in its Division of Research, including a Polar Glaciology division, Polar Oceanography division, Polar Upper Atmospheric division, Polar Biology and Ecology division and a Post-doctoral Research Center for Polar Science.
The only research station in the Arctic is in Ny Alesund, Svalbard. The Arctic Yellow River Station was established in 2004. It is a multi-discipline, integrative research base where the main research activities are upper atmospheric physics, glaciology, marine biology and environmental science. It is a two story building with about 560 square meters, accommodating 18 research persons to live and work.
PRIC has three research stations in Antarctica, the Great Wall Station, the Zhongshan station and the newly established Kunlun station. Among research fields in Antarctica are biology, ecology, geology, geochemistry, glaciology and environmental science.
As the Arctic Yellow Rover station and the Antarctic Zhongshan station are on the same magnetic field line, both stations can act as very important conjugate observation fields for aurora phenomenon.
A new campus is currently being built in the mouth of the Yangtz River in Shanghai. It will be a 156858.6 square meter facility which will not only become a comprehensive base of Chinese Antarctic and Arctic expedition, but also a new attraction to the city of Shanghai.