Atmosphere research underway after China’s 40th Antarctic expedition

China’s Xuelong-2 icebreaker arrives in Shanghai, China, April 16, 2024. /CFP

China’s Xuelong-2 icebreaker arrives in Shanghai, China, April 16, 2024. /CFP

Following the completion of China’s 40th Antarctic expedition, atmospheric research is underway on the samples that were brought back.

China’s 40th Antarctic expedition concluded with the country’s first domestically made icebreaker, Xuelong-2, returning to Qingdao City, east China’s Shandong Province, in early April.

The polar atmospheric research is a significant part of the recent Antarctic expedition, which involved the establishment and maintenance of a meteorological observation station, atmospheric chemistry observations at Zhongshan Station, the collection of atmospheric samples, and other scientific experiments.

Currently, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences are analyzing the samples.

Over the years, Chinese scientists have conducted vital research on the atmosphere in Antarctica, playing a significant role in studying Antarctic climate change and its global impact.

The atmospheric samples collected include various gases like carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur hexafluoride. Following the analysis of concentration results, researchers will record and compare them with the previous year’s data, ultimately yielding novel research findings.

Currently, China’s Antarctic atmospheric research is conducted through a range of methods including real-time online monitoring at Zhongshan Station, on-site sampling for subsequent analysis, as well as real-time monitoring at the lab in Beijing.

In addition to monitoring the atmospheric composition, Zhongshan Station also conducts regular manual ground meteorological observations and submits reports. This crucial data is transmitted back to China on a fixed schedule every day and subsequently shared with the World Meteorological Organization through the China Meteorological Administration.

Since 2008, China has operated an atmospheric background monitoring system at Zhongshan Station, enabling continuous online monitoring. Professional gas storage bottles are used. All these efforts contribute to filling the gaps in China’s polar atmospheric research.