Korea plans to build an inland Antarctic research station by 2030. In order to better respond to climate change, the construction of the new station makes sense, a press release states. The focus is on global research in this little-known region. This was announced by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in late November.
As part of the comprehensive plan to promote the country’s polar activities, the government also decided to build a next-generation icebreaker to carry out global research projects in the Arctic Ocean.
Korea currently has two Antarctic research stations, King Sejong Station, built in 1988 on King George Island and the Jang Bogo station in Terra Nova Bay established in 2014. A third station is scheduled for completion by 2030. Planners would like to have a site found and selected by 2027.
Once constructed, it would be Korea’s first inland station and the sixth in Antarctica. There are five inland Antarctic research stations operated by the United States, Russia, Japan, and China, and one operated jointly by France and Italy.
New icebreaker planned
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries also announced that the Cabinet has approved a budget of $205 million for the construction of a 15,000-ton-class icebreaking research vessel by 2026, which will help Korea lead joint projects in exploring the North Pole. The next-generation icebreaker will have the capacity to break 1.5-meter-thick ice at a speed of three knots, allowing it to penetrate into the high Arctic Ocean. The new icebreaker will replace the “RV Araon”, which entered service in 2009.
Satellites for the observation of ice melt
The plan also calls for the development of a micro-satellite to monitor the melting of glaciers in polar regions and provide a longer-term scenario of sea level changes.
Korea will strengthen cooperation with eight Arctic countries, including the U.S., Canada and Iceland, through various tailor-made projects and join hands with companies and research institutes at home, the ministry added.
“We will implement the basic plans to find a solution to climate change and develop new advanced technologies,” Ocean Minister Cho Seung-hwan said.
Website: Korea Polar Research Institute
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
More on the topic