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Arctic Daily Update: August 8, 2013

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August 8, 2013  
 
 
 
 

   
North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) "2013  Environmental Intelligence in Maritime: Preparedness for FranUlmer Arctic Drilling," August 8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "While Alaska remains the land of opportunity for oil and gas reserves, the challenges to access its vast reserves persist. Join NAMEPA to discuss whatindustry, regulators and environmental groups are doing to realize the potential of the region."
 
Invited speakers include Representative Don Young and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer.

Media   

     

American Geophysical Union releases revised position statement on climate change. "The American Geophysical Union today released a revised version of its position statement on climate change. Titled 'Human-induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action,' the statement declares that 'humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years' and that 'rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.' AGU develops position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to Earth and space science. These statements are limited to positions that are within the range of available geophysical data or norms of legitimate scientific debate." AGU Press Release & AGU Revised Position Memo

 

Arctic mussels affected by change in temperature, ice: Study. "If you want to know whether the climate is changing or not, you can take a look at mussels in the Arctic. That's the message from researchers at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and Aarhus University. The scientists, Martin E. Bilcher and Mikael K. Sejr of Aarhus and Signe Høgslund of GINR, recently published a study about blue mussels along the coast of Greenland, in the scientific journal Marine Ecology-Progress Series July 30." Nunatsiaq Online

 

August 2013 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Science Notes. The August BOEM Science Notes issue takes a closer look at a research project focused on the biological oasis that is the Hanna Shoal ecosystem in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska. The expedition continues through August 15 upon the USCG Cutter Healy. "The excursion is the latest in the five year BOEM study, one of more than 60 ongoing environmental studies associated with anticipating, avoiding or limiting potential impacts from oil and gas exploration and development in the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf." Chukchi Sea Ecosystem Study Blog & BOEM Environmental Studies Program

 

 

Three-decade decline in reflectivity of Arctic sea ice. "The reflectivity of Arctic sea ice, or albedo, regulates the solar radiation balance. A diminishing albedo affects the melt rate of Arctic sea ice. According to a study done by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the albedo (reflectivity) of Arctic sea ice has declined over the past three decades. The study was published in the prestigious Nature Climate Change journal on 4 August 2013. During summer months, the albedo in the Arctic sea ice zone regulates the radiation balance in the region, which is why albedo is crucial to the Arctic climate. A decline in albedo means that a greater percentage of solar radiation energy is absorbed by the ice, thus accelerating its melt rate." Phys.org

 

Nation's first civilian drones set to take flight over Alaska. "Coming soon to an Arctic air space near you: The nation's first commercial drone flights. Billed by federal regulators as a 'giant leap for unmanned kind,' a pair of drones with wing spans stretching about 10 feet are expected to take to the skies over the U.S. Arctic Ocean this summer, conducting work for the oil industry. Operating the remote controls will be private companies, including ConocoPhillips, Alaska's largest oil producer and holder of oil leases in the remote Chukchi Sea off the state's northwest coast." Alaska Dispatch

 

 

Fauske leaves AHFC to focus on gas line development. "Dan Fauske, longtime head of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and since 2010 in a dual role as the point man on an in-state natural gas pipeline, on Wednesday was tapped to focus solely on the pipeline. His task: Develop a pipeline from the North Slope through the Interior to Southcentral Alaska to bring natural gas to Alaskans." Anchorage Daily News

 

 

Crossing the warmest Arctic Ocean. "White Sea: The first full day at sea for the Nansen Memorial Expedition was a great mixture of exploring the ocean on the outer deck and learning the history given in lectures on the inside." Barents Observer


Legislative Action

  

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday. 


Future Events

 

"Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops are held as part of the Week of the Arctic, varied in form to reach different audiences and achieve multiple goals. The Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award dinner is the signature event for the Week of the Arctic. In recent years, the Award has been given to Red Dog Mine (2012) and Jacob Adams (2011). The award was created in 2000 to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions toward sustainable development in the Arctic. Join us as we present CH2M Hill this year's Award. The Week of the Arctic culminates on Sunday, August 18 with a champagne toast in celebration of the Governor Walter J. Hickel Day of the Arctic."
 
**New this Week**
 
Arctic Drilling Safety Preparedness and Response: Mitigating Risks in a Tempestuous Environment to Achieve the Rewards of Safely Expanded E&P, August 15-16, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "The harsh and unpredictable climate of the Arctic territories has done little to deter the interest in oil and gas exploration. Particularly since it has been reported, "the U.S. Geological Survey estimates 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist below Arctic waters." While the risks are considerable, so is the reward. As a result, there has been a great surge in development plans and permit requests. However, in order to responsibly drill and extract these resources, oil and gas companies must have thorough safety plans in place, while fostering an environmentally conscious approach to operations. This premier marcus evans conference will carefully examine how to assess risks, develop thorough safety plans and culture, quell environmental opposition through accountable actions, prepare a successful response plan and overcome lack of logistical support."
 
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(Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska).  The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting's draft agenda is now available here.

 

You can also view the 101st Commission Meeting announcement in this entry at the Federal Register.

 

 

 

Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."

 

7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). "The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workshop on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics."

 

Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky."

 

The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (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."

  

The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments. 

 

The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: www.whoi.edu/projects/FAMOS

 

Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 

 

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 scientific research and 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."

 

International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."

 

USARC • 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510 • Arlington, Virginia 22203 USA • 703.525.0111 • info@arctic.gov  arctic.gov

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