South Korea's sole icebreaker kicked off its 13th Arctic mission Monday to conduct research on clues about climate change in the North Pole, a local polar research institute said.
The Araon left the western port of Incheon for a 92-day mission to study the causes of abnormal weather conditions there and the impact of global warming on its ecosystem, the Korea Polar Research Institute said.
It is the Araon's first Arctic mission in three years, which had been delayed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists will conduct research in open waters around the Arctic Ocean, including the Bering Sea, the Eastern Siberian Sea and the Beaufort Sea, to examine the effect of global warming on the marine ecosystem and the undersea environment.
A maritime survey will also be carried out to obtain information on marine living resources in the Arctic Sea with state-of-the-art observation equipment.
The institute said data collected from those observation devices will be sent in real-time to its headquarters in Incheon for analysis.
The Araon is slated to return to Incheon on Oct. 4 after sailing some 15,000 kilometers for three months, it added.
Commissioned in 2009, the 7,487-ton Araon research vessel can accommodate scores of crew and researchers, and can cut through 1-meter-thick ice. The ship has served as a key player in South Korea's oceanic research, joining a number of international research projects shuttling between the poles of the Earth. (Yonhap)