Arctic Daily Update: July 25, 2013
Polar Thaw Opens Shortcut for Russian Natural Gas. "The polar ice cap is melting, and if executives at the Russian energy company Novatek feel guilty about profiting from that, they do not let it be known in public. From this windswept shore on the Arctic Ocean, where Novatek owns enormous natural gas deposits, a stretch of thousands of miles of ice-free water leads to China. The company intends to ship the gas directly there." New York Times
Federal government should launch Arctic marine corridor and port facilities initiative to spur economy in High North, says CIGI policy brief. "To prepare Canada's northern communities for the 'New Arctic,' the federal government needs to devote greater policy attention and resources to strategic Arctic maritime areas such as Nunavut, says a new policy brief issued by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)." CIGI
S. Korea seeks to play greater role in the Arctic. "South Korea on Thursday unveiled a set of measures to strengthen its presence in the Arctic that include boosting its research activities in the region, as well as the possible construction of its second icebreaker. Under the plans, the country will first seek to boost and strengthen its cooperation with other countries, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said." Global Post
Melting glaciers leave exposed a bounty of knowledge on developing ecosystems and soil microbial communities. "Glacier retreat areas provide an excellent window into the evolution of microbial communities, an ideal opportunity for scientists to study how quickly soil biological functions become established and how ecosystems begin to form. Soils are not static in the landscape, but instead evolve with time under the influence of multiple environmental factors - understanding how these factors interact can lead to advancements in the science and management of soils." Phys.org
India and China in the Arctic. "Geopolitics manifests itself when strategic and commercial interests clash between two competing powers. But mutual economic interests can also have a balming effect on strained relations between two nations with historical animosities. Inter-dependence calls for hostilities to be moderated. Norman Angell wrote that globalization would lead to the end of war, but Alfred Mahan warned that commerce can deter war and also trigger conflicts. Economics can be overwhelmed by national security concerns and domestic political priorities when dissonance reaches a boiling point. In this strange interplay of geopolitics and economics, let's trace the moves of India and China into the world's last strategic frontier." Foreign Policy Journal
Gazprom could get Arctic shelf sites by end of 2013. "Gazprom, the world's largest extractor of natural gas, may get access to areas of the Arctic shelf as soon as the end of 2013, according to a statement from the Russian Minister of Natural Resources. A government decree awarded Gazprom 17 offshore sites in the Barents and Kara Seas. The company applied for 20 fields." RT.com
Photos: Gathering Arctic air, water data with the Coast Guard. "The U.S. Coast Guard flew above the Arctic Circle last week, dropping sensors to take air and water measurements during an Arctic Domain Awareness flight. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Washington's Polar Science Center dropped the test gear from an Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane, a long-range search-and-rescue aircraft also used in combat zones." Alaska Dispatch
Yesterday, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed bipartisanly two pieces of energy legislation that could impact the Arctic.
"H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act passed by a bipartisan vote of 27-14. This bill, sponsored by Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), would reform the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal lands to eliminate unnecessary delays, reform the process for energy permitting, ensure funds are available for efficient wind and solar permitting, and set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources...
"H.R. 1394, the Planning for American Energy Act passed by a bipartisan vote of 27-14. This legislation, sponsored by Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03), would establish common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan using our vast federal resources and ensures that our Nation's energy needs are met through development of both traditional and alternative energy resources." House Committee on Natural Resources
**Revised day and time**
Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion on "The Benefits and 'Costs of Cold:' Arctic Economics in the 21st Century" featuring Alaskan Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell, Tuesday July 30, 2013, 9-10:30 a.m. (CSIS, Washington, D.C.). Alaska's Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell will discuss the future of economic
development in the American Arctic at this upcoming event.
"A new CSIS Europe Program report, which will be released on July 31, examines the economic benefits of Arctic development and the financial and environmental costs of Arctic infrastructure development. It determines that for now, the U.S. gives greater weight to the costs of Arctic development than to its benefits. Lieutenant Governor Treadwell will offer his reflections on this new report."
Please RSVP to Matthew Melino at MMelino@csis.org
Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."
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 Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). "The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; 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
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."