Chinese expedition reaches the North Pole
© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Chinese expedition reaches the North Pole

China's scientific expedition across the Arctic Ocean aboard the Xue Long 2 icebreaker has reached the North Pole and begun conducting research, according to the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources.

Xue Long 2 is the first polar icebreaker built independently by China.

The researchers have already conducted comprehensive studies of the atmosphere, hydrology, biology and sea ice, the ministry said in a press release. These measurements will help fill gaps in the country's knowledge of the region and allow scientists to better understand how sea ice and ocean currents are changing, as well as expand knowledge about the rapid environmental changes in the Arctic Ocean and their ecological responses. The ministry noted that the collected data is also important for Chinese specialists to combat the consequences of global climate change.

The expedition departed Shanghai on July 12 and is expected to cover nearly 15,500 nautical miles (28,700 kilometers) before returning to Shanghai at the end of September.

The project will focus on the central Pacific Arctic region and the Gakkel Ridge.

The Chinese researchers will also work with their colleagues from Russia and Thailand.