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Arctic Daily Update: September 3, 2013

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September 3, 2013  
 
 
 
 

 

President Barack Obama will leave for Stockholm, Sweden tonight to visit the Arctic nation before heading to Russia for the G-20 summit. The House of Representatives and the Senate begin their last week of recess before returning September 9. 

 


Media   

 

State panel debates Arctic policy in Unalaska. "The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission has a big mandate -- to figure out what kind of Arctic policy the state should have. ...[T]hey inched toward that goal during a meeting in Unalaska this past week. By February, the commission is supposed to come up with a set of recommendations for the Alaska legislature, which should help them write an Arctic policy for the state." KUCB

 

Interior All of the above: Interior Department's policy should advance Arctic strategy. "Interior Secretary Sally Jewell heads to the North Slope today to see firsthand where a large portion of the nation's domestic oil production comes from. It's not what it used to be, however, and the nation's new Interior secretary needs to see the potential herself. Much of the North Slope is, of course, outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. But there are large areas over which the federal government does have authority that should be developed, chief among them the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Fairbanks News-Miner

 

Yong Sheng: Why Arctic voyage of Chinese cargo ship is business as usual. "Much is being made of the voyage of the Yong Sheng, a Chinese cargo ship slowly making its way across the top of Russia and Europe toward its eventual destination, the Dutch port of Rotterdam. If the ship successfully reaches port, it will become the first commercial Chinese ship to transit the Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by way of the Bering Strait and Russia's northern coast...Dr. Lawson Brigham, an Arctic shipping and policy expert and distinguished professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks [and USARC advisor], warned that the trip of the Yong Sheng is not particularly unique, despite the PR blitz that seems to be surrounding the vessel's voyage." Alaska Dispatch

 

New traffic monitoring system for Arctic. "The Swedish Maritime Administration is testing a new tracking system for maritime traffic in the Arctic. The test is part of the icebreaker Odin's Arctic expedition, linked to the dramatic rise of maritime traffic in the region leading to greater concern for safety and environmental protection. The Arctic is one of the world's most environmentally sensitive areas, while also being one of the most difficult to protect against accidents. Thus, the need to support the maritime industry is crucial in guaranteeing safety for navigation and the environment. The Swedish Maritime Administration is now testing a new system for monitoring maritime traffic that will improve the potential for sea rescue, icebreaker assistance and environmental protection." Maritime Journal

 

Ottawa's Arctic port plan mired in delays. "One of the crown jewels in the federal government's Arctic strategy is mired in a slow-moving environmental clean-up and the threat of legal action, federal documents reveal. The deep-water port at Nanisivik, Nunavut, remains under the control the federal fisheries department six years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a naval refuelling station high in the northern archipelago." CBC News

 

Harper Canadian PM's Arctic tour conceals shift in circumpolar politics. "In the midst of the hoopla for Stephen Harper's 8th annual Arctic trip this year, two extremely interesting things took place, and neither of them involves an honorary Canadian Ranger status. The first is that, with very little fuss, the Russians (!) were invited to observe this year's Operation Nanook... This is Arctic defence diplomacy in full swing." Arctic Dispatch

 

Tribal leaders discuss impact of suicide in Alaska Native communities. "Tears were shed, vows were made and stories shared as dozens of tribal leaders and villagers gathered in Anchorage last week for the 13th Alaska Tribal Leaders Summit. This particular gathering focused on suicide. And over two days, there was much discussion on the causes, and possible solutions, to the loss of life happening statewide, particularly amongst Alaska Natives." Alaska Dispatch

 

The paradox of polar ice sheet formation solved. "The beginning of the last glacial period was characterized in the Northern hemisphere by major accumulation of snow at high latitudes and the formation of a huge polar ice sheet. For climatologists this was paradoxical, since snowfall is always associated with high humidity and relatively moderate temperatures. Now, a French team coordinated by MaríaFernanda Sánchez-Goñi, a researcher at EPHE working in the 'Oceanic and Continental Environments and Paleoenvironments' Laboratory (CNRS/Universités Bordeaux 1 & 4) has solved this paradox. By analyzing sediment cores dating from 80,000 to 70,000 years ago, the researchers have shown that during this period water temperatures in the Bay of Biscay remained relatively high, whereas temperatures in mainland Europe gradually fell. Carried northwards by wind, the humidity released by this thermal contrast appears to have caused the snowfall that formed the polar ice sheet. Their work was published on the Nature Geoscience website on September 1, 2013." Phys.org


Legislative Action

  

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.


Future Events

  
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."

  

Alaska World Affairs Council: "U.S. Leadership in an Emerging Arctic," 12 p.m. September 10, 

2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). The Alaska World Affairs Council will hold a Tuesday Lunch Program lecture featuring Chair of the US Arctic Research FranUlmerCommission Fran Ulmer and Ambassador David Balton, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

 

RSVP to info@alaskaworldaffairs.org or 276-8038 by Sunday, September 8th.  

 

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 Arctic Circle, an open assembly for international cooperation on Arctic issues, will hold its first gathering October 12-14, 2013, at the Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. This event will facilitate working meetings across issues and organizations and provide a forum for discussions hosted by different international and Arctic institutions. Agenda topics will include emerging topics of interest, such as sea ice melt and extreme weather, security, 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

  

17th Sitka WhaleFest: "Arctic Sea Change: What's Ahead?" October 31 - November 3, 2013, (Sitka, Alaska). "Sitka WhaleFest presents a unique science symposium blending local knowledge and scientific inquiry concerning the rich marine environment of our northern oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include symposium lectures, interactive student sessions, marine wildlife cruises with scientists, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, student art show, and a fun run/walk."

 

"The Arctic is changing. This is an indisputable fact. How the people and animals who depend upon the Arctic will adapt to change is an open question. How will narwhals and polar bears cope with less summer ice? Bowhead whales may have their world rocked when humpbacks, fins and other baleen whales begin - they already are - feeding in their backyard. The resource users of the Arctic will need to make adjustments and changes to live in this new world. Who will be the sea winners and sea losers? These are questions we will discuss with the experts who are passionate about the Arctic."
 

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." 

 

Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 

 

"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 

 

Full Conference Agenda

 

 

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 

 

For more information about the project please: 

 

 

 
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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