Arctic Daily Update: April 3, 2013
Both chambers are in recess. The Senate returns on April 8. The House returns on April 9.
Strengthen the Coast Guard's Presence in the Arctic. [Think Tanks Article] The Arctic region is becoming increasingly important to U.S. national interests. Ice in the Arctic has reached the lowest level since records began in 1979, opening up new possibilities for maritime trade, tourism, and natural resource exploration. Consequently, more actors than ever before will be operating in the Arctic region. This reality will present both challenges and opportunities for the United States. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will play a vital role in ensuring America's interests in the Arctic. In order to do so, the sea service needs to be properly funded and resourced. The Heritage Foundation.
Canada's Arctic Ice Cracks in "Spectacular" Event. The ice in Canada's western Arctic ripped open in a massive "fracturing event" this spring that spread like a wave across 1,000 kilometres of the Beaufort Sea. Huge leads of water - some more than 500 kilometres long and as much as 70 kilometres across - opened up from Alaska to Canada's Arctic islands as the massive ice sheet cracked as it was pushed around by strong winds and currents. Ottawa Citizen
Breeding Birds Vulnerable to Climate Change in Arctic Alaska: A Story of Winners and Losers. A new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) looked at the vulnerability of 54 breeding bird species to climate change impacts occurring by the year 2050 in Arctic Alaska. The assessment found that two species, the gyrfalcon and common eider are likely to be "highly" vulnerable, while seven other species would be "moderately" vulnerable to anticipated impacts. Five species are likely to increase in number and benefit from a warming climate. Science Daily
2013 Wintertime Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Fifth Lowest on Record. Last September, at the end of the northern hemisphere summer, the Arctic Ocean's icy cover shrank to its lowest extent on record, continuing a long-term trend and diminishing to about half the size of the average summertime extent from 1979 to 2000. During the cold and dark of Arctic winter, sea ice refreezes and achieves its maximum extent, usually in late February or early March. According to a NASA analysis, this year the annual maximum extent was reached on Feb. 28 and it was the fifth lowest sea ice winter extent in the past 35 years. NASA
Arctic Sea Ice Volume Diminishing, Greener Arctic in Coming Decades. According to researchers from the American Museum of Natural History, the wooded area of arctic would probably increase as much as by 50 percent in the next few decades and will make it greener. The research published in the the journal Nature Climate Change, specifies that the Arctic would be covered by greenery by 2050 approximately. The researchers also revealed that this sudden greening would speed up the climate warming rate much more than previously expected. Richard Pearson, lead author on the study and a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation said, "Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem." "These impacts would extend far beyond the Arctic region," Pearson said. Northern Voices Online
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.