Arctic Daily Update: May 31, 2013
The House and Senate are in recess until June 3rd.
10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development (ISCORD 2013) (June 2-5, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska) The International Association for Cold Regions Development Studies (IACORDS) and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will host a conference on "Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions." Special Keynote Sessions each day include "Bridging the Gap Between Climate Change Science and Engineering Practice"; "The Challenges of the Debris from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan"; and "Energy in Alaska - Current and Future Projects."
Defense Markups Next Week Ignore Spending Caps. A sense of foreboding permeates congressional deliberations over defense policy and spending bills for fiscal 2014 as lawmakers ignore the spending limits they enacted nearly two years ago and offer no obvious path to avert across-the-board cuts as a consequence. The House Armed Services Committee will mark up its authorization bill (HR 1960) on June 5. The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee also will mark up a draft defense spending bill the same day, aides said. Congressional Quarterly
Judge: Agency Erred in Whale Harassment Estimates. The National Marine Fisheries Service made mathematical errors in estimating how many endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet could be harmed or harassed by seismic testing, a federal judge has ruled. This week's decision by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason was a partial victory for conservation groups and the Alaska Native village of Chickaloon. They sued last year, claiming that seismic testing related to oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet in south-central Alaska would harm the belugas and that the fisheries service improperly issued exploration permits to Apache Alaska Corp. for high-intensity seismic work. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Agencies Should Plan for up to 10% Cut in FY15, OMB Says. Agencies' fiscal 2015 budget requests should be 5 percent below the amounts President Obama outlined for them in April, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell said in instructions released Wednesday. And to give the White House more budget-cutting options, agencies should also lay out additional reductions to bring discretionary funding totals to 10 percent below what Obama set for 2015 in his fiscal 2014 budget plan, Burwell said in the guidance posted on OMB's website. Federal Times
Hunting and Fishing Party Big Winner in Sweden's Sami Vote. The preliminary results of the Sami Parliament elections were presented on Tuesday, with Swedish news agency TT reporting the big winner as the Hunting and Fishing party, which got two new mandates. This makes the party biggest in the Sami Parliament with nine mandates. The big losers of the elections was the Partiet Samerna. Alaska Dispatch
'Expo 1: New York.' Arctic Art. Behind a white door in the basement of MoMA PS1, there's a room that's literally freezing cold. Inside are nearly a dozen boulder-size chunks of blue-tinged ice, fragments of a glacier in Iceland recovered by the celebrated artist Olafur Eliasson and transported here to create one of the more chilling artworks in "Expo 1: New York," a sprawling, multisite extravaganza including a multitude of installations, shows-within-shows and events relating to the current and future state of our planet's ecology. New York Times
Is Anti-Suicide Strategy in Eastern Canada Working? A social researcher in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut is calling for a performance audit of the territory's suicide prevention strategy. Jack Hicks says the territory is in the midst of a suicide crisis, but added there was almost no mention of suicide during the recent sitting of the legislative assembly. He said there were also no questions about the government's suicide prevention strategy. Alaska Dispatch
Enchanting Whale Songs, Stories of a Changing Arctic. By tracking and listening to whales, scientists have unlocked secrets about the dramatic changes currently underway in the Arctic. They've also learned that these whales are talented singers. In a wide-ranging talk here at the American Museum of Natural History, researchers and a documentary filmmaker revealed how declining levels of ice have affected the Arctic, as well as the humans that dwell there. Their stories, recounted during a session of the World Science Festival, billed as an annual celebration and exploration of science, reveal the difficulty and beauty of working in the harsh, and quickly changing, environment of the far North. LiveScience
Iceland's President to Speak in Maine on Friday: Olafur Ragnar Grimsson sees benefits for Portland as the climate warms northern trade routes. The emergence of northern shipping routes with the melting of the polar ice cap will transform global shipping in the next 10 to 20 years much the way the opening of the Panama and Suez canals did when they opened in their day, according to Iceland's president. Olafur Ragnar Grímsson said Portland will be a part of that transformation now that Icelandic shipping company Eimskip has made the city its primary U.S. port of call. Portland Press Herald
Arctic Council Settles Into New Digs June 3: First permanent secretariat office to open in Tromsø, Norway. The Arctic Council is finally getting its own digs, with a spectacular Arctic view. The Arctic Council's permanent secretariat officially opens its doors in Tromsø, Norway, June 3. Canada may lead the Arctic Council until 2015, guiding its decisions, but its new secretariat in Tromsø will serve as the council's administrative heart. Nunatsiaq Online
Arctic Ecology: Sacred Geese: A diet of goose flesh may help polar bears survive global warming. Polar bears are superb at ambushing seals as they come up through holes in the ice to breathe. During the months of summer, though, when the ice retreats, this lethal game of whack-a-pinniped is hard to play and the bears have been assumed to rely instead on the layers of fat they accumulate during the winter. This has led some conservationists to conclude that the species will run into in trouble in the future as global warming melts the Arctic's sea ice ever earlier and reduces the time bears have to replenish their fat stores. But a new study suggests that seal is not the only thing in the bears' larder. They may be able to supplement it with a summer diet of geese, and thus evade the consequences of a changing climate. The Economist
No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.
The Science and Stewardship of Coast Hazards Response in Protected Areas, June 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in conjunction with Congressman Sam Farr and responders will highlight how they access and interpret science to keep communities safe and commerce moving through a hypothetical California-based scenario, impacting a National Marine Sanctuary, walking participants through each step of the response. The scenario will cover: oil spill response, marine debris tracking and removal, early Natural Resource Damage Assessment efforts, information management, and public involvement. There will be many opportunities for audience engagement and discussion.
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 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.
5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) 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.
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 sixprevious 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 - one that 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 on offer, 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 advance a collective dialog 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 research scientific 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.
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.