Arctic Daily Update: April 1, 2013
Both chambers are in recess. The Senate returns on April 8. The House returns on April 9.
Alaska Volcano Monitors Say Budget Cuts Hurt Watch. Scientists who monitor Alaska's volcanoes say ongoing federal budget cuts have severely hampered the maintenance of an aging seismic network, including the shutdown announced Friday of even more equipment.Geophysicist Jeff Freymueller at the University of Alaska Fairbanks says only 120 seismic stations out of almost 200 in the state are in working condition after several years of budget cuts through the U.S. Geophysical Survey, a partner with UAF and the state in the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Anchorage Daily News
Did Polar Bears Really Lose at CITES? Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 16th Conference of Parties held in Bangkok in March rejected a proposal to ban international trade in polar bears and their parts. The decision caused a stir because polar bears face a precarious future. While some non-governmental organizations, such as the Humane Society International and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, were deeply disappointed by the failure to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would have banned all international trade in the species and their parts, Steven Amstrup, a renowned polar bear scientist, believes that limitations on trade don't address the real challenge facing the iconic animals. National Geographic
Scientists Discuss Arctic's New Normal. Using words like "stunning" and "unprecedented," a group of scientists from across North America gathered in Anchorage this week to discuss one of the fastest changing ecosystems in the world - the Arctic. With sea ice retreating at record rates, not to mention a 50 percent reduction in total multi-year ice area and 75 percent loss in volume, scientists are watching very closely the changes occurring in the Arctic - a change that produces winners and losers, they say. The Arctic Sounder
Documents Show Canada Praised for its Stance on Pollution from Arctic Shipping. Canada is winning a rare bit of environmental praise from the international community for its stance on pollution from shipping in Arctic waters. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show Canada is pushing hard to outlaw the discharge of oily wastes or garbage anywhere in the North. Canada's proposal, during negotiations for a mandatory global shipping code in the Arctic, has won the support of several countries including Germany and France - nations that often criticize Canada over the issues of climate change and management of wildlife such as seals and polar bears. Ottawa Citizen
New Models Predict Drastically Greener Arctic in Coming Decades. "Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem," said Richard Pearson, lead author on the paper and a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Plant growth in Arctic ecosystems has increased over the past few decades, a trend that coincides with increases in temperatures, which are rising at about twice the global rate. The research team-which includes scientists from the Museum, AT&T Labs-Research, Woods Hole Research Center, Colgate University, Cornell University, and the University of York-used climate scenarios for the 2050s to explore how this trend is likely to continue in the future. The scientists developed models that statistically predict the types of plants that could grow under certain temperatures and precipitation. Although it comes with some uncertainty, this type of modeling is a robust way to study the Arctic because the harsh climate limits the range of plants that can grow, making this system simpler to model compared to other regions such as the tropics. Phs.Org
'Long Periods of Open Water' Expected as Arctic Warms. Using words like "stunning" and unprecedented," a group of scientists from across North America gathered in Anchorage this week to discuss one of the fastest-changing ecosystems in the world - the Arctic. With sea ice retreating at record rates, not to mention a 50 percent reduction in total multi-year ice area and 75 percent loss in volume, scientists are watching very closely the changes occurring in the Arctic - a change that produces winners and losers, they say. Alaska Dispatch
Russia Drifting Arctic Base Barneo Reopens with Political Agenda. Barneo station has been established annually since 2000, at 89 degrees north latitude, becoming the center of research, sports and tourism in the Arctic. The base, sponsored by the Russian Geographical Society, is operational for only around a month, with the closing of this year's project scheduled for April 25. The Barneo complex consists of an ice camp and a runway - and has to be built from scratch every year as it's impossible to keep a landing field on drifting ice for more than one season. In Serbia News
Arctic Directory: ASRC Executive Named to Arctic Oil Spill Committee. Arctic Slope Regional Corp. said Jan. 29 that Richard Glenn, its executive vice president of lands and natural resources, has been selected to join the Arctic Oil Spill Committee, a 14-member panel assembled by the National Research Council, out of Washington, D.C. The NRC is a private, nonprofit institution and a branch of the National Academies, which includes the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Petroleum News
No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation Friday.
Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."
International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.
Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.
AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association
Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Reovaniemi, Finland) The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest research scientific knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.