Arctic Daily Update: April 29, 2013
The House and Senate are in recess this week.
Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 29-May 1, 2013. (Anchorage Alaska)The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 8th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference.
New Study Finds Alaska Wetlands Shrinking. A team of geoscientists based out of Texas have added to the growing number of studies pointing to a warming Arctic climate. Using newly available remote-sensing technology, scientists at the Southwest Research Institute found the Ahnewetut Wetlands in Kobuk Valley National Park, located in southwestern Alaska, have experienced an accelerated loss of surface water over the past 30 years Alaska Dispatch
EPA Releases 'Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment,' Opens Public Comment Period. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a revised assessment today on the Bristol Bay watershed. The report says building the Pebble Mine near the headwaters of a world-class salmon fishery could wipe out as many as 90 miles of streams and alter stream flows. EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran said the document generally affirms conclusions reached in the initial report last year. APRN
How America Can "Win" the Arctic. [Opinion] Last August, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides declared that, for the United States, the Arctic is "one of the last true frontiers in the United States. It is becoming a new frontier in our foreign policy." He was right. The Arctic is a new frontier in the sense that the polar ice cap is melting so rapidly - confounding and deeply disturbing most climatologists and earth scientists - that once-frozen and nearly impenetrable borders in the region are now being traversed with increased frequency. The Arctic also presents a new opportunity for U.S. policymakers to address the emerging political, diplomatic, economic, and security dynamics caused by unprecedented climate change. CNN
Research: Observers Nervous About Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship. Many observers involved in the Arctic Council outside Canada say they're worried about what might happen when Canada takes over May 15 as chair of the eight-nation council. Kristofer Bergh, a researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said April 26 that observers are nervous about the impending transfer of the chairmanship from Sweden to Canada. Nunatsiaq Online
Mapping and Accounting for Sunken Radiological Hazards in Arctic Devils Russian Authorities. Enormous quantities of decommissioned Soviet and Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades. According to reports given to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority by Russian officials in August of last year, the quantity of such waste is far more staggering that initially believed, even by Russian officials themselves. Boris Stepennov, a representative of the Kurchatov Institute, which has been examining the problem of sunken nuclear installations for the last 20 years, Friday told a Moscow conference entitled "Projects to Eliminate Nuclear and Radiogically Hazardous Facilities in the Northern Regions of of Russia - Status, Problems and Prospects," that getting a bead on where dumped radiogical hazards from reactors, fuel assemblies to entire submarines lie is of the essence. Bellona
Remote Savoonga Lands 4 Whales as Arctic Alaska Hunts Get Going. Whalers across Arctic Alaska are gearing up to land their first catch of the year in an ancient ritual governed by the vast stretches of sea ice that cradle the coast each spring. But one village may already be hanging up its harpoons for the season. Savoonga, some 700 miles west of Anchorage on St. Lawrence Island, has landed four bowhead whales and lost two. That leaves two strikes for 2013 that whaling captains will probably save for the fall season, said an exhausted George Noongwook late Friday morning. Alaska Dispatch
No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.
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.
5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) co-host this follow-on symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.
** New** The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, (Akureyri, Iceland). The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility. The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal.
The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism.
Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, 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.