BREMERHAVEN, Germany — Scientists from 17 nations, including the United States, Russia and China, are preparing for a yearlong mission to the central Arctic to study the impact climate change is having on the planet's frigid far north.    

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Mission leader Markus Rex said Wednesday that researchers plan to anchor the German icebreaker RV Polarstern to a large floe, set up camp on the ice as the sea freezes around them and conduct experiments throughout the Arctic winter.    

Rex, an atmospheric scientist at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute, told The Associated Press the mission that gets underway in the fall is unprecedented in scale and ambition for an Arctic expedition.    

He says it demonstrates how scientists from countries with very different interests can collaborate on important research.