China launches scientific expedition at Yangtze River’s headwaters

XINING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) — Chinese scientists on Monday kicked off a new scientific expedition at the headwater region of the country’s Yangtze River, in the northwestern province of Qinghai.

A team of 42 expedition members and staff has arrived in the city of Golmud in Qinghai, according to the Institute of Sanjiangyuan National Park under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

During the nine-day scientific expedition, led by the institute, researchers will use helicopters equipped with thermal infrared imagers and lidars to investigate the activities of animals, vegetation distribution and the state of water resources in winter at the Yangtze River’s headwaters and Hoh Xil in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Zhao Xinquan, who heads the research team, said the program is part of China’s second comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The research results will help the study of climate change in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and provide theoretical support to the construction of the Sanjiangyuan National Park.

Sanjiangyuan is known to contain the sources of three rivers, namely the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang (Mekong) River.

China launched the second comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in June 2017, 40 years after the first expedition. Over a period of five to ten years, the expedition members will conduct a series of studies focusing on the Plateau’s glaciers, biodiversity, and ecological changes, as well as monitoring changes in the region’s climate.

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