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Arctic Daily Update: June 10, 2013

Today's Events    

 

Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Workshops, June 10-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). PAME hosts 3 workshops: a scoping workshop for the revision of the 2004 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan; a AMSA II(C)/AMSA II(D)-PSSA bridging workshop; and an ecosystem Approach to Management workshop.

Media
 

U.S., China agree to reduce use of hydrofluorocarbons. "U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed on Saturday to cooperate in fighting climate change by cutting the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, the White House said a statement. "The United States and China will work together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons," the White House said on the second day of the informal U.S.-China summit in Southern California. U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon told reporters the two countries had done most of the work in advance of the California meeting on Friday and Saturday, when the two presidents discussed climate change." Reuters

The answer is blowing in the wind. Google's focus on renewable energy has helped one Arctic wind farm grow and secure funding. "Google, the world's by far largest search engine, has huge data centers around the globe. While Facebook has chosen Luleå in Sweden for its giant data-center, Google has decided to locate their new data center in Europe in Finland. It is Google's policy to use renewable energy. The new Swedish wind farm just cross the border from Finnish Lapland is perfect. Google's ten-year purchase deal has helped the builder of the wind farm, O2, to secure 100 percent financing for the construction of the wind farm from the investment arm of German insurance company Allianz, which will assume ownership when the wind farm becomes operational in early 2015." Barents Observer

  

Noctilucent clouds get an early start. "Every summer, something strange and wonderful happens high above the North Pole. Ice crystals begin to cling to the smoky remains of meteors, forming electric-blue clouds with tendrils that ripple hypnotically against the sunset sky. Noctilucent clouds, a.k.a. "NLCs," are a delight for high-latitude sky watchers, and around the Arctic Circle their season of visibility is always eagerly anticipated. News flash: This year, NLCs are getting an early start. NASA's AIM spacecraft, which is orbiting Earth on a mission to study noctilucent clouds, started seeing them on May 13th." Phys.org

 

Indigenous peoples meet in Arctic Norway to prepare 2014 UN conference.

"With the goal of producing a strong statement on the rights on indigenous peoples around the world, the Global Preparatory Indigenous Peoples Conference, hosted by the Saami Parliament in Norway, began June 9 in Alta, Norway." Nunatsiaq Online
   

Alaska's chilly 'spring from hell' confirmed by national climate data. "Alaskans already knew what the latest report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., revealed last week: It's cold up here. The 'spring from hell,' or perhaps 'the spring that never came,' has now faded as warmer temperatures arrived around much of the state in late May. But in the waters off Alaska, ice has remained stubbornly persistent, much as it did last year. "Slack winds over central Alaska allowed cold air to stay in place and made much of the month (of May) unusually cold," the NSIDC wrote in its report titled 'Un-Baked Alaska.'" Alaska Dispatch

 

New Gulf of Alaska king salmon bycatch limits passed by fisheries council. "An advisory board has proposed clamping down on the king salmon bycatch by non-pollock trawlers working the Gulf of Alaska, a move supporters say will help boost a species in peril and opponents contend could cost commercial fisheries tens of millions of dollars without any guarantee that salmon will benefit. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council met in Juneau this weekend to consider a variety of issues regarding the region's fisheries. Saturday's agenda included a decision on whether to limit the chinook salmon bycatch by commercial vessels sweeping the ocean depths for rockfish, flatfish and cod." Alaska Dispatch

 

Is Parnell's plan for oil exploration in ANWR legal? "A pair of East Coast congressmen hoping to slam shut the debate over opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development say a proposal by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's administration to encourage limited exploration under a government-led program is off the table. Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and his colleague, Pennsylvania Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, point to a 2001 opinion by the Interior Department solicitor that claims no further exploration can be allowed in ANWR except by Congress, according to a news release from Markey's office." Alaska Dispatch

   

Giant, floating umbrella design restores Arctic ice. "An American architect has won first place in a design journal's competition for a building plan that's intended to reverse the melting of Arctic ice caps. His design of giant, floating umbrellas that could potentially restore ice by harvesting and freezing the water underneath comes at a time when transportation and energy giants, as well as the governments of the world's economic leaders, aim to take advantage of a potentially navigable Arctic region. According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center's (NSIDC) most recent Arctic sea ice analysis, the region's ice extent declined at a near-average rate through May, but overall, it remained below average when compared to the 1979-2000 average -- there's less ice than in the past." Alaska Dispatch

OPINION: Changes in sea ice monitoring critical to safe operations in Arctic. "For thousands of years, Native Alaskans have studied and learned about the ice. They learned what to expect from different seasons and changing weather patterns. They learned what ice to trust, and what ice was unstable. They learned because their existence depended upon it. For hundreds of years, explorers and scientists have been studying the ice, too. A body of scientific data has been developed and used to predict ice behavior. Those predictions are used to inform mariners and industry operating in Arctic waters. And increasingly, they are unreliable, asserts Hajo Eicken, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Eicken recently attended the Arctic Observing Summit in Vancouver, Canada and reports that the stakeholders agreed." The Arctic Sounder    

Barents Sea Statoil Delays Norwegian Barents Sea Project. "On account of applicable Norwegian Government tax changes, Statoil as operator has recommended a delay of the investment decision for the Johan Castberg project in the Norwegian Barents Sea. Statoil has continued to mature the resource base and development plans for the project. There are still uncertainties related to the resource estimate and investment level." Marine Link

 


 
Potentially 'catastrophic' changes underway in Canada's northern Mackenzie River Basin report. "Canada's Mackenzie River basin-among the world's most important major ecosystems-is poorly studied, inadequately monitored, and at serious risk due to climate change and resource exploitation, a panel of international scientists warns today. In a report, nine Canadian, US and UK scientists convened by the US-based Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, say effective governance of the massive Basin, comprising an area three times larger than France-holds enormous national and global importance due to the watershed's biodiversity and its role in hemispheric bird migrations, stabilizing climate and the health of the Arctic Ocean." Phys.org

First Nunavut anti-poverty roundtable set to go next week. "People from around Nunavut will gather at the Frobisher Inn in Iqaluit next week for what organizers call the first official gathering of the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. At the meeting, scheduled to be held from June 10 to June 12, participants will likely get a look at a strategy and action plan on food security produced by the Nunavut Food Security Coalition." Nunatsiaq Online

Western senators press Obama to block mine. "Five Democratic senators are asking President Barack Obama to consider blocking a proposed mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay, a move that could heighten pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to veto the project. In a letter Monday, the group of senators from Washington, Oregon and California, led by Washington's Maria Cantwell, argue that their states could suffer economically if a huge gold-and-copper mine moves forward. The EPA is conducting a scientific review of how the project, underwritten by mining giants Northern Dynasty and Anglo American, would affect the region's aquatic life." Anchorage Daily News

 

Legislative Action 

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation Friday. 

Future Events

A Top of the World Conference, June 12-13 (Barrow, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will meet in Barrow. Agenda items include the Indigenous Stakeholders Forum, remarks by Sens. Begich and Murkowski and AK Lt. Gov. Treadwell, and an update on the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. You can view this Conference through the web-stream at AKL.tv or listen by phone at (855) 463-5009.
 
**New This Week** 
White House Roundtable Discussion with Federal Government Officials, National Strategy for the Arctic Region, June 14 (Gorsuch Commons #107, Univ. of Alaska Anchorage, 2:00-5:00 pm).
 
On May 10, 2013, the FranUlmer President signed the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. At that time - recognizing that successful implementation of the National Strategy will depend upon productive collegial engagement with Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, Members of Alaska's congressional delegation, and other key stakeholders - the White House announced that it would host initial meetings in Alaska in June to discuss how best to move forward. Please join us for a roundtable moderated by Fran Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission.

Participants include:
  • Nancy Sutley (Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality)
  • Kathy Sullivan (Acting Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • David Hayes (Deputy Secretary of the Interior)
  • Tommy P. Beaudreau (Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)
  • Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo (U.S. Coast Guard)
  • Ambassador David Balton (Department of State)
  • Tony Ceraolo (Director, Maritime Security & Director, Arctic Region Policy, National Security Staff)
  • Brendan P. Kelly (Assist. Director, Polar Science, Office of Science & Technology Policy, EOP)

For further information, please contact:

Brendan P. Kelly                  or              Fran Ulmer (fran.ulmer@arctic.gov)  

bkelly@ostp.eop.gov

202-456-6056

 

AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013 (Washington, DC).   AGU logo

Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students,

policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. See the 6/25 forum titled "US Government Investment in Arctic Change Research." The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association. The USARC is a co-sponsor of the Arctic forum, through ARCUS. 
3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, July 10-12, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). The 3rd Airship Workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions that would facilitate establishing strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern area customers. Workshops will look at specific actions that may be initiated.
  icedimArctic

The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) will co-host this follow-on symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.

 
101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting agenda will be posted on the USARC website, www.arctic.gov, closer to the meeting date. 
7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-­-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workship on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics.

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 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10 (Akureyri, Iceland). The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal.

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.

Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). This workshop will bring together a diversity of 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. 

Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland). The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross-cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.
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."

USARC • 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510 • Arlington, Virginia 22203 USA • 703.525.0111 • info@arctic.gov  arctic.gov

 

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