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Arctic Daily Update: July 14, 2014


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July 14, 2014  


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capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House will consider a number of legislative items under suspension of the rules including: H.R. 5031, the STEM Education Act of 2013, H.R. 5056; the Research and Development Efficiency Act; and, H.R. 5029, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act. The Senate is in session and expected to consider non-Arctic legislation.


capital Denali Commission Money Survives House. Fiscal conservatives are again gunning for the Denali Commission. This week they tried to eliminate the bulk of its funding - $10 million, tucked into a federal appropriations bill for energy and water programs. Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot argued, as others have for years, the Denali Commission is an unnecessary middleman. Alaska Public Radio 


Arctic Air Clearer After Soviet Union's Collapse, Long-Term Study Says. The clouds of black carbon soiling snow and ice in Finland's Arctic region have diminished significantly since the middle of the 20th century, a change attributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the cessation of some of the most polluting industrial practices in northwestern Russia, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Much of the black carbon - also known as soot - came from the heavily polluted Kola Peninsula, where smelters and other industrial facilities belched smoke for decades, the study said. Alaska Dispatch News


Yukon Land Claims: Watershed Decision. A dispute over who has the right to determine land use in Yukon is in now in the hands of a judge after arguments in what has been one of the most dramatic lawsuits in the territory's history wrapped up in Whitehorse on Thursday. First Nations and environmental groups accuse the Yukon government of overstepping its authority by single-handedly re-writing the land use plan for the 67,000sq kilometer Peel Watershed. Arctic Journal


Bowhead Ottawa Eyes Bigger Bowhead Harvest Quota for Nunavut. It's now up to the federal fisheries and oceans minister to decide if Baffin whalers will be able to harvest one extra bowhead annually. But soon after Gail Shea makes that decision, she'll have to consider a similar request from the Kivalliq region. The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board made a formal request through the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board Feb. 5 asking for an increase to the total allowable harvest of bowheads to four, from the current three. Nunatsiaq Online


Researchers Studying Solutions for Broadband in the Arctic. Broadband communications is increasingly widely used in the shipping industry and is essential for many offshore operations, but many owners are doubtful about whether it is really possible to get broadband coverage in the Arctic. However, Telenor, the Norwegian Space Centre and Marintek believes that it is, and aim to prove that it is possible. Together they are working on the concept of an Arctic broadband system, which they have dubbed 'ASK' (the Norwegian abbreviation of Arctic Satellite Communications). Offshore Shipping Online


Trash- plastic Scientists Call for Action on Plastics Being Dumped in Marine Environment. Two leading scientists on the subject of plastic in the marine environment have called for urgent action to "turn off the tap" and divert plastic waste away from our oceans. In an article for journal Science, Professor Kara Lavender Law, of the Sea Education Association, and Professor Richard Thompson, of Plymouth University, argue that the practice of putting plastic waste into our oceans must stop because we are "conducting an unintended experiment." Blue and Green Tomorrow


Coast Guard Rescues Man Trapped in Ice Near Barrow. A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker came to the rescue of a man aboard a sailboat trapped in Arctic ice Saturday. The mariner was headed to eastern Canada from Vancouver via the Northwest Passage - a sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans - when he became stranded about 40 miles northeast of Barrow, the Coast Guard said in a statement. Coast Guard personnel in Juneau were contacted by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Monday, who said they were unable to fly to the man's location because of weather conditions and low visibility. KTVA


Coast Guard Seal Is the U.S. Ready to Patrol the Arctic? The U.S. Coast Guard is facing a dilemma at the North Pole. The service's fleet of icebreakers, ships designed to navigate and cut through ice-covered waters in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, is getting older. The vessels themselves are slowly deteriorating, and by 2020, naval experts say the country's icebreaking capabilities will run out. Defense One


NEB Will Weigh Oil Companies' Arctic Oil Spill Response Plans. Two big energy players aiming to drill in the Beaufort Sea will get clarity from the National Energy Board as to whether their proposals to deal with a potential undersea blowout are adequate. In letters to Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) and Chevron Canada Ltd. posted Friday, the NEB agreed to review the companies' contingency plans before they file formal applications. Beacon News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Congress did not formally consider Arctic legislation Friday.

Future Events


Lords Arctic Committee Hears From Leading Climate Scientists, July 15, 2014 (London, England). The House of Lords Select Committee on the Arctic will take evidence from academics specializing in climate change and sea ice as it continues its new inquiry. The first set of witnesses the questions will focus on the impact of changing global and local temperatures on the Arctic environment, whether the available data on the subject is robust enough to support informed policy making and what impact changing conditions are having on people, wildlife and economic opportunities in the Arctic region. The second session will cover the short and long term causes of changes to sea ice in the Arctic, what the possible impacts of a decline in Arctic sea ice might be and how far UK research influences policy in the Arctic states.


Implementing US Policy in the Arctic, July 23, 2014 (Washington, D.C.). The subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will host a hearing on implementing US policy in the Arctic. Several agency witnesses are expected to testify. Congressional hearing to be webcast live...


ICETECH 2014, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). The International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures on Ice (ICETECH) is organized by the Arctic Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. The theme of the conference is performance of ships and structures in ice (icebreaking ships, ice resistant structures, and operations in ice) with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. The conference will cover topics including:Global warming implications to Arctic ships and structures; Icebreaking ships, Naval Architecture, construction, and marine operations; Structures in ice/iceberg populated waters; Construction and logistics in ice-covered areas; Ice management; New offshore developments in ice-covered areas; Subsea pipelines and facilities in ice; Marine systems for offshore drilling and production operations in ice; Codes, regulations and standards; Ice conditions, forecasting and remote sensing; Safety, risk and environmental protection; Escape, Evacuation and Rescue (EER); and Arctic Geopolitics.


Alaska Policy Commission. August 26-27, 2014 (Kotzebue-Nome, 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.  


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. Additional information and schedule to follow.


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 (Reyjavik, 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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