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Arctic Daily Update: December 18, 2013

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December 18, 2013  
 
 
 
 

 

capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House is not in session.  The Senate will consider a budget resolution, the National Defense Authorization, and several nominations. 

 


Media 

 

defense spending Senate Poised to Pass Defense Bill. The Senate is poised to pass the Defense authorization bill despite Republican anger toward Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over blocking amendment votes. At least six Republicans say they will vote to end debate on the measure, clearing the way for the Defense bill to reach 60 votes and be sent to President Obama's desk this week. The Hill

 

Paul Threatens to Keep Senate From Christmas Vacation Over Fed Fight. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is threatening to keep the Senate in session by dragging out Janet Yellen's confirmation as head of the Federal Reserve. The noted central bank critic said Tuesday that he was prepared to force the Senate to exhaust the full 30 hours of debate on Yellen's nomination if he did not receive a vote on his legislation to fully audit the Fed. His push comes as senators are trying to wrap up their work for the year. The Hill

 

Report: Alaska Among States Criticized for Infectious Disease Prevention, Control. A new national report card took Alaska to task for not requiring hospitals to report when they make patients sick with infectious diseases, but lauded the state for covering HIV screenings under Medicaid. In a state-by-state ranking announced Tuesday morning by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two nonprofits that focus on public-health issues, Alaska scored 50 percent for overall control and prevention of infectious diseases. While a 5 of 10 is typically a failing mark, only 16 states and Washington, D.C., surpassed Alaska's rating. Anchorage Daily News

 

All's Quiet on the Arctic Front. Many have predicted that recent developments in the Arctic herald the beginning of a "new cold war". A warming Arctic has prompted new territorial claims, opened up new trade routes and increased competition for resources. Most recently, further tension has been implied, as Russia announced a military buildup in the north and the US issuing its first Arctic plan.  However, despite what has been reported in the media, Arctic countries are "keeping their cool" in the face of a rapidly changing area rich in potential. Arctic Journal

 

caribou Canada's Woodland Caribou may be at Risk of Extinction. An environmental group says more needs to be done to prevent an iconic Canadian animal from going extinct. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released a report Tuesday, co-authored by the David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental non-profit organization, on the status of woodland caribou. CBC News obtained an embargoed copy of the report, "Population Critical: How are the caribou faring?" Alaska Dispatch

 

Oceans Storing More Carbon Than Previously Thought. Oceans cover about 70 percent of the Earth's surface, and act as an important carbon sink. However, each part of the ocean works in different ways to take up carbon from the atmosphere and store it. Two new studies shed light on the nuances how these processes work in the Arctic Ocean and coastal zones. The findings about the Arctic Ocean were published recently in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, worked with colleagues to figure out how decreasing sea ice in the summer is affecting the carbon cycle in that ocean basin from 1997-2006. Huffington Post

 

Snowy-Owl Migration to U.S. Among Biggest Ever. Snowy owls - large, fluffy, white birds typically found in the Arctic and rarely seen south of the Great Lakes - have swooped down upon the eastern United States in greater numbers than at any time in at least 50 years, one bird expert says. The owls have been spotted as far south as Bermuda, the Carolinas and Missouri, according to news reports. This migration of snowy owls southward is called an irruption, and this is the "largest of its kind in recent memory," said Kevin McGowan, a bird expert at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University. Discovery


Legislative Action

  

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events

 

Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 

 

Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.

 

The agenda is available here.

 

The goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.

 

Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.

 

44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.

 

Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014 (Tampa, Florida).  Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson (stephenson@ucla.edu) for more information, and see attached flyer.

 

Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11 (Helsinki, Finland). ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here

 

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."
 
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
 

** NEW** Arctic Circle, September 5-7, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural gathering drew more than 1200 participants from 40 nations, bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations for a series of meetings and presentations addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing Arctic. The Assembly established itself as a platform for high-level engagement on issues, such as the meeting between Russia and Greenpeace regarding the "Arctic 30" detention, and it also provided new observer states the opportunity to communicate their Arctic strategies. Details about the 2014 Assembly will be announced in the coming months.

 

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.


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