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Arctic Daily Update: August 21, 2014

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August 21, 2014  
 
 
 
 

 

capital Today's Congressional Action: 

Most members have returned to their districts or states for the August recess. The Senate will hold pro forma sessions during August. The next roll call vote in the Senate is scheduled for September 8th. The House is also in recess until September 8th.

 

 

Media  
 

Cultural Ties May Help Prevent Suicide, Experts Say. Amid the grim statistics about suicide in the far north there are some bright spots -- and potential lessons for preventing future tragedies -- according to presentations given this week at an international epidemiology conference in Anchorage. Suicide rates for Alaska Natives 70 and older are low, only half the national rates for that age group, according to information gathered by James Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues. Allen, who specializes in indigenous and rural intervention programs and has worked in rural Alaska, was one of several experts who presented research findings at the International Epidemiological Association's World Congress of Epidemiology, being held this week in Anchorage. Alaska Dispatch News 

 

Cape Dorset Hosts 20th Eastern Arctic Elders' Gathering. Elders from across Nunavut and Nunavik are gathering in Cape Dorset this week for the 20th annual Eastern Arctic elders' gathering. "Everybody's really excited to see each other again," Cape Dorset mayor Palaya Qiatsuk told Nunatsiaq News Aug. 20. "People are meeting each other, making friends. This is a big event here," he said. Nunatsiaq Online

  

Arctic Sea Ice Influenced Force of the Gulf Stream. The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) come to this conclusion in a new study that appears today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. On the basis of biomarkers in deposits on the seafloor, the geologists involved managed for the first time to reconstruct when and how the marine region between Greenland and Svalbard was covered with ice in the past and in what way the Gulf Stream reacted when the sea ice cover suddenly broke up. They concluded that when large amounts of Arctic ice drifted through the Fram Strait to the North Atlantic, the heat transport of the Gulf Stream declined noticeably. Phys.Org

 

Norway to Award Oil Licenses in New Offshore Areas in 2016. Norway will award oil and gas licenses in new offshore areas, including in an important Arctic zone bordering Russia, in the first half of 2016, according to a Reuters report. The Norwegian oil and energy ministry has said that the process will take longer than recent rounds due to the need for more surveying in the area. The ministry, which has already asked companies to nominate blocks where they want to drill, expects applications in the second half of 2015, indicating that the process of attributing new licenses will last between 24 and 30 months, longer than the 15-18 months in the previous three rounds between 2008 and 2013. Penn Energy

 

Navigating Risks, Opportunities in Arctic Shipping-Report. In October 2013, the bulk carrier Nordic Orion made the first-ever successful commercial transit of the Arctic's Northwest Passage, delivering a cargo of coal from Vancouver to Finland. The voyage marked a new phase of Arctic navigation, coming just four years after the first international commercial transit of the region's Northern Sea Route. The Nordic Orion's journey took around a week less than had it traveled via the Panama Canal, saving the operator both the toll fees and US$80,000 in fuel costs. Global climate change - specifically the melting of sea ice - presents opportunities for international marine transportation networks in the Arctic, at least during the summer months. Recent discoveries of oil and the potential financial and timesavings are making the Arctic routes more appealing to the shipping industry. Potential Arctic sea routes exist that enable ships to move between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thus cutting the distance between East Asia and Western Europe. Maritime Executive

 

Mammoth Research Center to Open in Russia's Yakutsk. The International Collective Users' Center of Molecular Paleontology will open in Yakutsk, Russia this September, Chief Research Scientist of the Applied Ecology of the North Institute Semyon Grigoryev said during a press conference on the results of the "search for the last Arctic giant" expedition. According to Grigoryev, it will be an academic center where scientists from Yakutia and their Russian and foreign colleagues may work, and students from the North-Eastern Federal University could study and gain experience as interns. RIA Novosti 

 

The Shippers Are Willing, But the Insurers are Leery. Before Arctic shipping can become commercially viable, firms must gain the confidence of insurers - and in order to do that, they must display that they have a full understanding of the risks involved, concludes Marsh, an insurer, in report issued today. "While marine insurers are largely supportive of the development to Arctic shipping routes, they are extremely wary about incurring large, high-profile losses while the market is sill in its infancy," Marcus Baker, the chairman of Marsh Global Marine Practice outfit, said in a statement accompanying the report. Arctic Journal

 

Why in 'Remote, Cold Corners' of the World, Melting Ground is Giving Way. Finally tonight, new indications that the planet is warming, especially in the frozen north. Scientists have been tracking Arctic thawing for decades, and they have seen a dramatic increase since 2000. When holes opened up in the earth recently in Siberia, a wave of speculation was set off as to their cause. Scientists now think warming is the culprit. PBS News Hour

 

Arctic Bugs Survive at -27 Degrees Celsius. It is the first time higher-order invertebrates such as spiders, flies and beetles have been found coping in direct exposure to such cold temperatures. Previous lows were between just -5°C and a little below -10°C. The research, published in the Journal of Thermal Biology, suggests they may be more resilient to climate change than first feared. Planet Earth

  

2015 Federal Funding Opportunity. NOAA's Climate Program Office (CPO) supports competitive research through four major Programs: Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM); Earth System Science (ESS); Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP); and Climate and Societal Interactions (CSI). Through this Announcement, CPO's Programs are seeking applications for 10 individual competitions in FY 2015. Prior to submitting applications, investigators should be familiar with CPO and its specific Program priorities for FY15. This information, along with the names and contact information of relevant Competition Managers, is provided here.

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

 

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events

  

Alaska Policy Commission Meeting, August 26-27, 2014 (Nome and Kotzebue, Alaska) The public is invited to observe the Commission in their work from 8:30am - 4pm. The Commission will accept public testimony on Arctic Policy issues at 11:30am in Nome (location TBD) and 12:30pm in Kotzebue at the Nulla─ívik Hotel. Please arrive 15 minutes early to sign up to give public testimony. All voices and perspectives are welcome and appreciated. For the meeting agenda, additional information, and updates please visit here

 

World Trade Center Alaska: Arctic Ambitions Trade Mission to Northern Europe, September 4-14, 2014 (Finland-Norway-Iceland). The Trade Mission will visit Northern and Arctic Europe starting September 4th in Finland and ending September 14 in Iceland, with an intermediary stop in Norway. The itinerary includes three days in each country and features visits to Arctic communities. Familiarization with Northern Europe's economies, and in particular commercial development in the Arctic, is the main goal of this trade mission. The participants will gain useful networking opportunities and a wealth of information on these three countries. For registration and information, please contact WTCAK at (907) 278-7233.

 

Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 9-11, 2014 (Whitehorse, Canada). The Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region is a biennial conference for parliamentarians representing the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament. The biennial conference is attended by representatives from the national parliaments of the Arctic states and the European Parliament. The Arctic indigenous peoples are permanent participants to the cooperation. Observers participate from governments and inter-parliamentary organizations as well as from observer states and relevant international organizations. 

 

AOOS Film Contest, Submission Deadline September 15, 2014.

In celebration of its 10th Anniversary, Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) is seeking short films highlighting Alaska's coast or oceans.   AOOS welcomes films of any genre relating to the ocean (i.e. people using the ocean and coast, marine research, marine wildlife, ocean-related policy issues, etc).  You don't need to be a professional to submit a film!   

 

102nd US Arctic Research Commission Meeting, September 15-16, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA). The 102nd USARC meeting will be held in Anchorage. Draft agenda available here

 

2014 Week of the Arctic, October 6-11, 2014 (Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow, Alaska, USA). The Institute of the North will host the 2014 Week of the Arctic. The 2014 Week of the Arctic is a platform for community leaders, subject matter experts and interested stakeholders to learn about the Arctic while contributing to a growing list of priorities and perspectives. Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops will be held in Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow. Throughout the week, presentations and interviews will be captured on video for distribution through social media and web-based sharing.

 

2014 FAMOS School and Workshop #3, October 21-24, 2014 (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 synthesize major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments. The major themes of workshop include but not limited by studies focused on: predictions; Arctic observational and modeling initiatives; fate of sea ice in models and observations; atmospheric, sea ice and ocean dynamics; process studies and parameterizations; model validation and calibration; numerical improvements and algorithms; ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry.

 

Transatlantic Science Week 2014, October 27-28, 2014 (Toronto, Canada). The purpose of the annual Transatlantic Science Week (TSW) is to promote enhanced cooperation between Canadian, American and Norwegian stakeholders in research, innovation and higher education. TSW is an arena where different stakeholders can meet with the purpose of developing long-term collaborations or partnerships. The conference also hopes to strengthen the linkages that currently exist between the research and education domains. Finally, TSW also provides an excellent arena for dialogue between the research communities and policymakers. 

 

Arctic Circle, October 31-November 2, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland).

The Arctic Circle is nonprofit and nonpartisan. Organizations, forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations around the world are invited to hold meetings within the Arctic Circle platform to advance their own missions and the broader goal of increasing collaborative decision-making without surrendering their institutional independence. The Arctic Circle will organize sessions on a variety of issues, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Polar law: treaties and agreements; The role and rights of indigenous peoples; Security in the Arctic; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; The prospects and risks of oil and gas drilling; Clean energy achievements and sustainable development; Arctic resources; Business cooperation in the Arctic; The role of Asian and European countries in the Arctic; Greenland in the new Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; The science of ice: global research cooperation; Arctic tourism; The ice-dependent world: the Arctic and the Himalayas. 
 

US- Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum, November 4-6, 2014 (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada). Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Canadian Polar Commission in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, are hosting the fourth Canada - United States Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biennial meeting with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups and Northerners from both Canada and the United States. The Forum provides an opportunity to discuss current and future priorities for northern oil and gas research. The Forum will showcase the value of northern research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management.

 

Alaska Policy Commission. November 13-14, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) has more important work to do in 2014. The Commission will strive to gather public input and engage with Alaskan communities, state agencies, federal partners, and the international organizations working in the Arctic. In order to meet our goals AAPC will convene three in-person meetings over the course of 2014 and focus on implementation and final recommendations. 

 

The Arctic Biodiversity Congress, December 2-4, 2014 (Trondheim, Norway). The Arctic Biodiversity Congress will present and discuss the main scientific findings of the ABA; facilitate inter-disciplinary discussion, action and status updates on the policy recommendations in the ABA; provide scientific, policy, management, NGO, academia, Indigenous peoples and industry audiences the opportunity to collaborate around the themes of the ABA; advise CAFF on national and international implementation of the ABA recommendations and on the development of an ABA Implementation Plan for the Arctic Council; highlight the work of CAFF and the Arctic Council on circumpolar biodiversity conservation and sustainable development; and, contribute to mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services, ensuring that the recommendations of the ABA are implemented by not just governments, but many organizations and people across disciplines.

 

Arctic Change 2014, December 8-12, 2014 (Ottawa, Canada). The international Arctic Change 2014 conference aims to stimulate discussion and foster collaborations among people with a vested interest in the Arctic and its peoples. Coinciding with the pinnacle of Canada's chairmanship of the Arctic Council and marking ArcticNet's 10th anniversary, Arctic Change 2014 welcomes researchers, students, Northerners, policy makers, and stakeholders from all fields of Arctic research and all countries to address the numerous environmental, social, economical and political challenges and opportunities that are emerging from climate change and modernization in the Arctic. With over 1000 participants expected to attend, Arctic Change 2014 will be one of the largest trans-sectoral international Arctic research conferences ever held in Canada. 

 

Arctic Frontiers: Climate and Energy, January 18-23, 2015. The earth is in the midst of major climate changes. The Arctic is experiencing the impact of these changes more and faster than other parts of the globe. Processes starting in the Arctic may have deep and profound impacts on other parts of the globe. At the same time the Earth's population is rising and with it the global energy demand. New and greener energy sources are gaining market shares, but still the energy mix of the foreseeable future will have a substantial fossil component. The Arctic is expected to hold major oil and gas resources, while the regions green energy potentials are less explored. The Arctic Frontiers conference is a central arena for discussions of Arctic issues. The conference brings together representatives from science, politics, and civil society to share perspectives on how upcoming challenges in the Arctic may be addressed to ensure sustainable development. Arctic Frontiers is composed of a policy section and a scientific section. 

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