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Arctic Daily Update: June 20, 2014

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June 20, 2014  
 
 
 
 

capital Today's Congressional Action:   

The House is expected to consider H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. The Senate is not in session.

Media 

Recent Book Explores Alaska's North Slope as an Arctic Bioregion. Slicing through the top quarter of the Alaska map, the Arctic Circle marks the boundary of perpetual light. North of the line, the sun won't set on summer solstice. But somehow the breezy, treeless tundra of Barrow has a more arctic feel than Fort Yukon, also poleward of the line but home to dense spruce forests and Alaska's all-time high temperature of 100 degrees. Anchorage Daily News

 

Canada flag Is Canada Sidelining Inuit in its Arctic Offshore Sovereignty Claims? The federal government must respect any Inuit rights that might overlap with Canada's offshore sovereignty claims, two lawyers commissioned by Sen. Charlie Watt say in a recent paper. "Inuit rights to these areas must be respected. If Canada wishes to claim sovereignty over areas covered by these rights, it must engage with Inuit for the purpose of obtaining their free, prior and informed consent," their paper says. Nunatsiaq Online

 

Peace, Love and Snow. Many a skeptical voice has been raised in Arctic circles about the Arctic Council's repeated assurances that, despite tension over Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, it has been business as usual in the regional co-operation forum. But, there may just be something to it - if the results of the most recent Global Peace Index, issued by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace on Wednesday, can be taken as an indicator. In the ranking, Arctic Council members nabbed five of the top 10 spots, with a sixth of the eight-member club finishing in a tie for 11th place. Arctic Journal

 

research on ice Research in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Western Antarctica ice sheet is collapsing. And the process is now unstoppable, according to researchers from NASA and the University of Washington. This could mean a staggering four-meter sea level rise. However, we probably won't be around to see it - it may not happen for another 1,000 years. Meanwhile, at our other pole, the Arctic sea ice has retreated by 12 % per decade since the late 1970s. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) tells us that May 2014 represented the third lowest extent of sea ice during that month on record. Experts predict that the region will have ice-free summers within the next 30 to 40 years. Cordis

 

National Geographic Has to Radically Redraw Parts of its Atlas Because of Arctic Ice Loss. The Arctic ice sheet has shrunk so much that National Geographic is having to make what it calls "drastic" changes to its atlas. Geographers say the disappearing ice is "one of the most striking" changes in the history of the National Geographic Atlas of the World, which will release its 10th edition in September. Time

 

Russia's Arctic Flybys a 'Strategic' Message. Canadian fighter jets were scrambled twice in the past two weeks to track Russian bombers over the Arctic, patrols near North American airspace that government sources say have increased in 2014 compared with the previous two years. The Canadian government believes at least some of these patrols, in particular similar Russian flights off the U.S. West Coast, are "strategic messaging from Moscow" in response to tensions between the West and Vladimir Putin over Ukraine, sources say. The Globe and Mail

 

Bering Straits Native Corp. Seeks Land for Future Arctic Port. The prospect of new port facilities in Western Alaska will rely heavily on Arctic oil and gas development, according to a recent Northern Economics study. Commissioned by Bering Straits Native Corp. and marine services company Crowely Maritime Corp., the feasibility analysis released June 6 focused on Port Clarence, northwest of Nome on the Seward Peninsula. BSNC found that a "basic" port and man camp could be up and running within four years of a firm oil and gas industry commitment to engage in developing the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS, energy resources. Northern Economics Inc. is an Anchorage-based consulting firm that frequently analyzes resource and infrastructure development in Alaska. Alaska Journal of Commerce

 

Coast Guard Seal US Coast Guard Outlines Arctic Priorities. The USCG's Arctic Strategy is built around three strategic objectives: improve awareness, modernize governance and broaden partnerships in the Arctic region. "Where there are humans on the water, there is a demand for us to keep them safe and secure and ensure environmental responsibility," said Neffenger. As Neffenger discussed the challenges of the Arctic, he stressed the need for situational awareness and integrated coordination among all the resources available. MarineLink

 

Coast Guard, Navy Install New Radar in Alaska. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley worked with Navy contractors to replace radar components which were beyond their service life on Kodiak Island June 9-13. Under the expert supervision of Petty Officer 1st Class Brent Taylor, an electronics technician aboard the Alex Haley, the replacement was conducted seamlessly and with enough time to teach junior members critical information about the radar system. This delicate evolution required planning and precise coordination between the electronics technicians aboard the cutter. The AN/SPS-40 radar is used to detect air contacts and to track embarked MH-65 Dolphin aircraft when the cutter is deployed. Weighing in at nearly 4,700 pounds, the radar array and pedestal required precise crane manipulation to hoist and set into place at the top of the cutter's 130-foot main mast. Military

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

 

H.R. 4660, the Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act; and the Agriculture Appropriations Act. (The Senate began 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.

 

The Future of Arctic Cooperation, June 25, 2014 (Washington, DC). The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a conference on the Future of Arctic Cooperation. The conference take stock of current patterns of international cooperation in the Arctic region and discuss the way ahead amidst uncertain geopolitical times.  Government officials and expert panelists will examine the most promising areas of Arctic cooperation such as scientific research, Arctic shipping regulations and search and rescue capabilities, current economic trends and future development, and the sustainability of fisheries and the marine environment, and will offer their perspectives on the future of Arctic cooperation in light of the upcoming U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Executive Director John Farrell of the US Arctic Research Commission will speak as part of a panel on "Enhancing Scientific and Research Cooperation in the Arctic."

 

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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