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Arctic Daily Update: June 25, 2014


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June 25, 2014  

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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. 


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."


capital Today's Congressional Action:   

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






Oversight Hearing on 'Economic Development: Encouraging Investment in Indian Country,' June 25, 2014 (Washington, D.C.). The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold an oversight hearing on encouraging investment in Indian Country. The hearing will be webcast on the Committee's website.


Alaska's Housing Stock: Report Outlines High Costs, Overcrowding. The state housing authority released a report on Tuesday describing "severe shortcomings" in Alaska's housing stock, related to high costs, poor energy efficiency, and overcrowding. The 1,400 page report, commissioned by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and authored by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, provides a detailed assessment of housing at the state, regional and community level. It analyzed information from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey, as well as professional energy audits conducted on about 30 percent of Alaska's occupied housing. Anchorage Daily News


arctic shipping Shipping Safety Advocate Criticizes Arctic Preparedness Plans. As the summer arctic shipping season gets underway, a member of a group that formed after the Selendang Ayu ran aground a decade ago, is calling for more rescue tugs, monitoring and risk management measures in the Bering Strait and Unimak Pass. In letters to the Coast Guard, Rick Steiner with the Shipping Safety Partnership, says the money to address these concerns could come from the 3.5 billion-dollar Oil Spill Liability Trust fund the Coast Guard has. Alaska Public Radio


Groups Seek Endangered Species Act Listing for Southeast Alaska Tree. Yellow cedars, slow-growing trees that are withering and dying in the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, should get Endangered Species Act protections, said a petition submitted Tuesday by an three environmental organizations and a tour company operating in Southeast. The petition, submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeks to make the yellow cedar the first Alaska tree and the second Alaska plant to gain a listing under the Endangered Species Act. The Aleutian shield fern, a plant found only on Adak Island in the central Aleutians, is the other plant listed under the act, first added as endangered in 1988. Alaska Dispatch


Measuring and Modeling Geothermal Resources at Pilgrim Hot Springs. There's a place where the perennially frozen ground of the Alaskan tundra is interrupted by 2 square miles [~ 5 km² ] of thawed soil. There, cottonwoods and thick brush grow among lazily meandering waterways. The Pilgrim Hot Springs are a pleasant symptom of the geothermal heat which warms the earth deep beneath Alaska's Seward Peninsula, not so far south from the Arctic Circle. There, deep below the surface, hot water rises through fractures in the bedrock that comprises the valley floor. Anchorage Daily News


Pentagon - Defense Pentagon's Budget Projections Ignore Long-Term Caps. Even as Pentagon officials call on Congress to accept painful cuts outlined in their spending proposal for next year, their own budget projections ignore the long-term caps currently in place for fiscal 2016 and beyond. The Defense Department abided by statutory spending limits for the first time in the fiscal 2015 request it sent to Capitol Hill in March. But its five-year spending plan, which is essentially a blueprint for its priorities in the so-called out years, blows past those caps by $115 billion. Roll Call


An Icebreaker for All Reasons. Scandinavia's most powerful icebreaker is hopelessly out of place these days. Currently moored in Copenhagen as part of the city's week-long Science in the City Festival, the Oden is the polar equivalent of a fish out of water as it sits under clear blue skies surrounded by nothing but water and man-made structures. Arctic Journal


Pan-Arctic Inuit Org Says Inuvik Assembly a Turning Point. The Inuit Circumpolar Council's Canadian wing says the pan-Arctic organization's general assembly in Inuvik could potentially become a turning point for Inuit. "This era is not only bringing challenges to Inuit and to the Arctic, but also opportunities," the ICC Canada president, Duane Smith, said in a news release. The ICC holds its general assemblies every four years, at locations that rotate among the organization's three largest national delegations: Alaska, Greenland and Canada. Nunatsiaq Online


wildfire Fires Linked to Large-Scale Greenland Ice Melt. A cocktail of rising temperatures and ash from forest fires led to large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, according to recent research from Dartmouth College and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The widespread melting of the Greenland ice sheet required the combination of both of these effects - a lowered snow albedo from ash and unusually warm temperatures - to push the ice sheet over the threshold," said Kaitlin Keegan, a Dartmouth doctoral student who was the study's lead author. Arctic Journal


Moth Invasions Cause Widespread Damage in the Sub-Arctic Birch Forest. In just seven years, as much as one-third of the mountain-birch forest in the North Calotte region was severely defoliated by two moth species. Researchers now have a better understanding of what happened. From 2002 to 2009 roughly 10 000 km2 of the mountain-birch belt across North Norway, North Sweden and North Finland was severely damaged by moth outbreaks. Phys.Org


Murkowski Speaks to Subcommittee on Arctic Investments. US Senator Lisa Murkowski met with a subcommittee Tuesday to discuss the importance of funding Arctic investments. Senator Murkowski met with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security in Washington, DC.  Murkowski wants to focus on Arctic issues such as maritime commerce, natural resource development, Coast Guard search and rescue and icebreakers. "We have the availability for a level of commerce that was only imagined by explorers.  It's a level of commerce that is bringing container ships across from Russia and China.  It's very engaged in the arctic.  We are seeing cruise ships coming through the Northwest Passage.  We are seeing a level on maritime commerce that has really accelerated." KDLG


Senator Landrieu Promises Senator Murkowski a Hearing on Arctic. Senator Lisa Murkowski today continued to advocate for Arctic investment with her colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. While discussing the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security funding bill, Murkowski insisted that the committee focus more on Arctic issues like maritime commerce, natural resource development, Coast Guard search and rescue, and the critical need to invest in icebreakers. Subcommittee Chairwoman Senator Mary Landrieu promised Senator Murkowski that she would schedule a subcommittee hearing this fall to discuss Arctic investment - specifically, how the subcommittee will allocate $1 billion to purchase an icebreaker for the Coast Guard. Alaska Native News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 4012, Secret Science Reform Act (Ordered to be reported in the House by voice vote)


Congressional Research Service summary: Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 - Amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such action is specifically identified and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.

Future Events


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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