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Arctic Daily Update: June 17, 2014

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June 17, 2014  
 
 
 
 

Our Ocean, June 16-17, 2014 (Washington, DC and via the web). The State Department will host Our Ocean to bring together individuals, experts, practitioners, advocates, lawmakers, and the international ocean and foreign policy communities to gather lessons learned, share the best science, offer unique perspectives, and demonstrate effective actions. The agenda is available here. A live stream of the program is available here.

 

capital Today's Congressional Action:   

The House and Senate are in session and expected to consider non-Arctic legislation. 

 

 

 

 

Media 

president signing Obama to Order Ocean Protections With Executive Powers, Kerry Says. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, says saving the world's oceans was a vital security issue, and has urged leaders at an international summit to take immediate action on overfishing and pollution. Kerry, speaking at the start of the summit, said humans had caused "enormous damage" to the oceans, jeopardizing the food security of three billion people on the planet. The Guardian

 

Study: Birds Carry Plant Fragments from Arctic to South American Wintering Grounds. Mosses and other plants that grow in northernmost North America are also found in southern South America, but not in the regions between. Now scientists say they know why: Long-distance migrating birds are carrying plant spores and fragments in their feathers when they migrate south for the winter, according to a study published in the open-access journal PeerJ. The study, led by botanist Lily Lewis of the University of Connecticut, analyzed breast feathers plucked from migratory birds nesting on Alaska's North Slope. Anchorage Daily News

 

Invasive Species Could Increase as Climate Warms. Tim Ridle's porch overlooks the southern shore of Sand Lake in South Anchorage, a popular destination for fishers, boaters, pilots, and nature lovers. While once relatively pristine, an invasive weed called Elodea has taken over parts of the lake. "It looks like super thick scum," Ridle said, while examining the green, brown, and yellow muck colonizing the lake in his backyard. "It's almost like a disaster. You can't describe it until you see it, and the next thing you say is, 'wholly cow, how did that happen?'" Alaska Public Radio

 

Seismic Storm Continues in Noatak with Fifth 5.7 Quake. The seismic storm in the far-western arm of the Brooks Range that began nearly two months ago continued early Monday morning. Another magnitude 5.7 quake in the Noatak earthquake swarm struck around 4:01 a.m. Monday. The Alaska Earthquake Center in Fairbanks said residents reported about a minute of strong shaking. Alaska Public Radio 

 

caribou Nunavut Planning Body Accuses Ottawa of Blocking Updated Land Use Plan: Updated plan would protect caribou calving areas, stress food security. The Nunavut Planning Commission is "astonished" that the federal government will not fund a final public hearing on its long-awaited draft Nunavut land use plan, forcing the commission to suspend it, the organization said in a statement June 16. "Ironically, the Nunavut Planning Commission had scheduled the public hearing to meet the timeline imposed on it by Nunavut Member of Parliament Leona Aglukkaq and AANDC Minister Bernard Valcourt to submit the DNLUP for approval by March 31, 2015," the NPC said. Nunatsiaq Online

 

New Method Forecasts Arctic Sea Ice Melt. Arctic sea ice coverage will continue to recover this year from the all-time low of summer 2012, according to experts at the University of Reading. Polar climate scientists at the University's Department of Meteorology have developed what they say is the most skilful forecasting method yet for predicting the size of the annual summer melt, three months before it hits its September peak. Using the new method, which analyses the size and coverage of 'melt ponds' on the surface of the sea ice, the team announced today (June 16) their prediction that the September 2014 sea ice minimum will be 5.4 million km2, close to the level in 2013. The figure is likely to fall within the range 4.9-5.9 million km2. Phys.org

 

Flagship US Arctic Research Facility Welcomes EU Scientists. Two European Union scientists won an international competition to conduct research at the United States' flagship Arctic research facility in northern Alaska during the 2014 field season. The University of Alaska Fairbanks' Institute of Arctic Biology is welcoming the scientists at the Toolik Field Station in July and August. A third EU scientist will be going to the Barrow Environmental Observatory. Phys.org

 

New Coast Guard District 17 Commander Bring Arctic Experience. With the buoy tender Sycamore as a backdrop and Coast Guardsmen and women in their dress blues, Rear Adm. Tom Ostebo turned over Coast Guard District 17 command to Rear Adm. Dan Abel on Thursday. Ostebo is known for his work in the Arctic, and Abel says he's ready to continue what his predecessor started. Pacific Area commander, Vice Adm. Charles Ray, praised Ostebo's leadership over the past three years. Alaska Public Radio

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

 

H.R. 4660, the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. (Yesterday, the Senate considered a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill.)

Future Events

 

Food Security, June 25, 2014 (Webinar). The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee will host a webinar to feature presentations by Carolina Behe, Traditional Knowledge/Science Advisor, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Alaska and Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Social Science Program Director, Kawerak, Inc. The presentations will provide the basis for a broad discussion across disciplines. Understanding the challenges to food security in the rapidly changing Arctic and ensuring safe and consistent availability, access, and usage of food resources for indigenous communities is critical for sustaining livelihoods, promoting health and well-being, and helping to preserve cultures, traditional knowledge, and socio-linguistic heritage. Given projected climatic and environmental changes along with expected concomitant development activities and opportunities for increased natural resource exploitation, a reliance on community-based monitoring programs to track changes in the distribution and relative abundance of food resources will be crucial for safeguarding sustainable communities in the Arctic. Community-based monitoring programs can also address the impacts on biodiversity, cultural identity, health, language, livelihoods, and traditional knowledge.

 

Arctic in the Athropocene. June 23-July 2, 2014 (Potsdam, Germany). Under the overarching theme "Arctic in the Anthropocene", this two-week interdisciplinary and interactive event will be the first in a series of Potsdam Summer Schools to be held annually. The goal is to bring together early-career scientists and young professionals from research departments, governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations, as well as the private sector from all around the world. Participants will deal with global challenges and address urgent questions on how to shape sustainable futures in the Arctic and beyond from a scientific and socioeconomic point of view. 

 

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. 

 

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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