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Arctic Daily Update: August 22, 2014


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August 22, 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.




Recent US Moves on Arctic Policy Bode Well for the Region. [Opinion] America's increasing attention on the Arctic is timely and well-deserved but it's important to recognize that there have been many individuals and organizations whose focus on the Arctic over the years we are now building on. We can point posthumously to statesman such as Wally Hickel and Walt Parker whose life work contributed to this issue, and more recently to our congressional delegation, the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (chaired by Mead Treadwell and subsequently Fran Ulmer) and the University of Alaska, all of whom have developed a body of Arctic expertise over decades. Too often the response to "Arctic" is from a position that the U.S. is behind in understanding the reality, challenge and opportunity of the region. Alaskans have been at the forefront in responding to and thriving in the harsh Arctic environment. What is new to this equation is the scale of attention -- the urgency felt by local communities to maintain and support their traditional ways of life, renewed national interest in strategic security and defense, and the investment interest by the public and private sectors around the world. Alaska Dispatch News


Coast Guard Rescues Man From Research Vessel 250 Miles North Barrow. The U.S. Coast Guard medevacked a man suffering from a head injury from a South Korean research vessel 250 miles north of Barrow on Wednesday, according to a press release. The South Korean research icebreaker Aaron called in to the Coast Guard on Tuesday afternoon reporting that one of its crew members had suffered a head injury related to a weightlifting accident, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst. The vessel was 470 miles north of Barrow when the call came in, DeVuyst said. It traveled south for nearly a day to get within range of Coast Guard helicopters. Alaska Dispatch News


Sunlight May Be Key to Carbon Dioxide Release From Arctic Permafrost. The permafrost in the Arctic locks away a vast reservoir of carbon. Yet this carbon is gradually converting to carbon dioxide after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be largely controlled by microbial activity. Now, scientists have discovered that it's not bacteria triggering this process--but sunlight. "Arctic permafrost contains about half of all the organic carbon trapped in soil on the entire Earth-and equals an amount twice of that in the atmosphere," said Byron Crump, co-author of the new study, in a news release. "This represents a major change in thinking about how the carbon cycle works in the Arctic." Science World Report


Harper PM Harper Announces $17 M Arctic Research Program. Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off the first full day of his annual northern tour today with news of a multimillion-dollar Arctic program from the National Research Council. The program will focus on resource development, northern transportation and shipping, marine safety technologies and community infrastructure. The federal government is spending $17 million on the program over eight years, and will be seeking another $65 million in co-investments from industry over that same time period. Canadian Manufacturing


NOAA Administrator Says Climate Change in Alaska Significant. The head of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, is currently visiting the state of Alaska.  While ostensibly present to accompany the Secretary of Commerce, she also took time to check in on state NOAA personnel.  KDLG got the chance to interview Dr. Sullivan, and asked her about NOAA's role in studying global climate change.  She says its main purpose is to translate scientific data into useful analysis. KDLG


canadian flag Canadian Military Plans Support 'Hubs' in Arctic to Speed Response. The Canadian Forces will develop a network of sites throughout the Arctic in order to stockpile equipment if needed and move troops and gear quickly into the region in case of emergency, according to documents obtained by the Citizen. The military hopes to have the sites in place by 2018, with the concept tested in the coming weeks. Ottawa Citizen


Lockheed, Coast Guard Tackling Problem of Arctic Communication. Most naval tasks in the Arctic has always been difficult - and not just because of the cold. The region is one of the least charted int he world and the infrastructure is limited. Even basic communications from units deployed north of Arctic Circle (66 degrees 33 minutes north latitude) are tough. But Lockheed Martin is pitching their new five-satellite Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communication constellation - developed for the Navy - as a partial solution to Arctic communication, Paul Scearce, Lockheed Martin's Military Space Advanced Programs Director, told USNI News on Wednesday. NSNI News


Arctic Working Group Formed in DC. To help the United States better prioritize its interests in the Arctic, Reps. Don Young and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), announced the creation of the Congressional Arctic Working Group in an op-ed printed in the Washington Post on Aug. 3, according to Young's office. The bipartisan working group, which will focus on bringing together stakeholders from across Native, environmental, oil and gas, mining, national security, and navigation communities to advise Congress about the opportunities and challenges facing the United States as an Arctic nation, will also work to ensure the nation begins securing its strategic and economic interests in the region. The Tundra Drums


Alaska Readies for US to Take Chair of Arctic Council in 2015. America's Arctic representatives shared some of the federal plans for the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council set to begin in 2015. The federal delegation held several meetings throughout Alaska to share the plans and get feedback. "Alaskans need to inform possibilities for our chairmanship," Balton told more than two dozen people gathered for a business-focused roundtable in Anchorage Aug. 14. Alaska Journal of Commerce

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


Polar Code Meeting, August 29, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska/ teleconference). The recent Polar Code meeting held in Seattle had a significant communications breakdown with a combination of wrong phone number and line static. To remedy this situation and gather your input, there will be a presentation on the Polar Code on August 29th in Anchorage, Alaska, on the day immediately following the Arctic Waterway Safety Committee organizational meeting. This meeting will also be held at the UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, ANCHORAGE, GORSUCH COMMONS, Room 106. Teleconference Number/Passcode: (866) 742-8054, Passcode 5667986 Additionally, copies of the presentations can be found on the public docket at: www.regulations.gov, at docket # USCG-2014-0515.


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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