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Arctic Daily Update: September 2, 2014


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September 2, 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.





Study: Sparser, Thinner Arctic Ocean Ice Enabling New Phytoplankton Blooms. Reduced ice cover is stimulating a new phenomenon in the Arctic -- extra blooms of phytoplankton occurring in the fall, just before freeze-up, in addition to the usual springtime blooms, new research finds. A study, led by scientists at Canada's Laval University and published online in the journal Geophysical Research letters, describes the autumn blooms that have become more frequent in the past 15 years. Alaska Dispatch News


Seeking a Light in the Arctic: Nunavut Women's Group Would Rather Have a Helping Hand Against Domestic Violence Than Another Report Looking Into Its Causes. Canadian Inuit groups are joining the call to launch a federal inquiry into the disappearance and murder of over 1,000 aboriginal women since the 1980s, but say the challenges facing women in Nunavut communities are different than elsewhere. Provincial and territorial premiers, meeting for their annual summer meeting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, called for the inquest, which they said would be vital to identify the causes of the violence. Arctic Journal


On the Hunt for Franklin's Ships. David Shea is looking to help solve one of Canada's longest standing mysteries. The former Salmon Arm resident, who now lives and works in Conception Bay, Nfld., is currently in the Arctic as part of a team attempting to locate the historic ships of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition. Shea, who graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary in 2003, is the engineering manager for Kraken Sonar Systems, a company that uses state-of-the-art underwater sonar to scan and map the Arctic seabed and possibly find evidence of Franklin's lost ships. Salmon Arm Observer


Finland to Step Up Air Surveillance After Russia Violates Airspace for Third Time in a Week. Yle, Finland's public broadcaster, has learned that yet another Russian aircraft has strayed into Finnish airspace. In the latest incident, a Russian transport plane is suspected of flying over Finland around mid-day Thursday. Defense Minister Carl Haglund said Thursday Finland will heighten its air surveillance activities as a result of the incursions. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Expedition Pioneers Technique for Polar Bear Research. A team of French scientists working in partnership with conservation organization WWF has for the first time isolated polar bear DNA from a track left in the snow. The scientists from DNA specialist firm SPYGEN looked at two samples from polar bear tracks collected earlier this year during the WWF-Canon and Norwegian Polar Institute expedition to Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic. Phys.Org


New Arctic Economic Council Will Try to Shape Development in North. Canada will live up to promises it made two years ago when the first meeting of the Arctic Economic Council begins Tuesday in Iqaluit. Creation of the group was to be the centrepiece of Canada's agenda as it assumed leadership in 2012 of the overall Arctic Council, which is made up of the eight countries that ring the North Pole. Canada's chairmanship ends this year. CBC News


Endemic Rape, Sex Trafficking and Appalling Levels of Domestic Violence: Why the US and Canadian Arctic is One of the World's Most Dangerous Place to be a Woman. On a freezing night last February, the body of 13-year-old Mackenzie Howard was found lying in the back porch of the church in the tiny, remote village of Kake, Alaska. She had been battered to death. In one of the world's most hazardous natural environments, the real dangers for women living in the Arctic come not from polar bears or cracking ice but from the men they live among. Mackenzie Howard's body lay outside the church in Kake for 11 hours after it was found. With a population of 559, Kake is just one of 75 remote Alaskan villages with no police force. Daily Mail 


Female Researcher Dons Fake Mustache to Study Ravens. Ravens are no match for a fake mustache. Stacia Backensto, an Alaska biologist and master of disguise, dressed herself as one of the men working in the northern oilfields to spy on the scientist-shy birds. The ravens had learned to be wary of Backensto who sometimes captured them and attached vinyl tags to their wings before releasing them. New York Daily News 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events


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 17-18, 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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