A Chinese research vessel set sail for the tropical West Pacific from the eastern port city of Qingdao on Thursday, departing on a mission to explore the geology and ecology of the region.
The tropical West Pacific contains the world's most sophisticated waters, with the strongest interchange of energy and materials between earth and the ocean.
It has a close connection with the occurrence of El Nino and its duration, which has a significant influence on floods and droughts in China, according to Zhang Wuchang, a scientist from the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The El Nino weather phenomenon, characterized by a warming in the Pacific Ocean, has a profound impact on extreme weather conditions.
The aim of the expedition is to collect information and improve the ability to forecast El Nino in China, Zhang said.
With 30 science experts in biology, chemistry, geology and physical geography, exploration of ocean gravity and magnetism will be conducted, and seismic data will be collected.
The research vessel Kexue, or "science," weighs 4,711 tonnes, with a cruising capacity of 15,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 15 knots.（Xinhua）
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