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Arctic Daily Update: September 12, 2013

Today's Events
 

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 workshop 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."
Media   

 

Amount of Arctic ice is larger than last year's all-time record low. "Sea ice in the Arctic will reach its annual minimum 'any day now,' says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which tracks Arctic ice. Although not nearly as ice-free as last September's all-time record low, the amount of Arctic sea ice in the summer of 2013 was well below average, and will likely go in the books as the sixth-smallest 'extent' of Arctic sea ice on record, he says." USA Today

 

Unprecedented rate and scale of ocean acidification found in the Arctic. "Acidification of the Arctic Ocean is occurring faster than projected according to new findings published in the journal PLOS ONE. The increase in rate is being blamed on rapidly melting sea ice, a process that may have important consequences for health of the Arctic ecosystem. Ocean acidification is the process by which pH levels of seawater decrease due to greater amounts of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans from the atmosphere. Currently oceans absorb about one-fourth of the greenhouse gas. Lower pH levels make water more acidic and lab studies have shown that more acidic water decrease calcification rates in many calcifying organisms, reducing their ability to build shells or skeletons. These changes, in species ranging from corals to shrimp, have the potential to impact species up and down the food web." USGS

 

Rescue plans for damaged tanker in Arctic unclear as Russian military flotilla steams by. "It remains unclear from numerous reports whether help is finally on the way for the hobbled Nordvik cruiser, which is currently drifting in the area of the Maitsen Straight, where on September 4, its hull was damaged by ice, threatening to spill tons of diesel fuel into the fragile Arctic ecosystem. The ship's rescue - and the aversion of a possible environmental disaster - would require the assistance of icebreakers to clear its path back to port." Bellona

 

Canada builds up arctic maritime surveillance. "Canada is going ahead with plans to keep closer tabs on arctic shipping amid competing claims on the region, especially those from Russia and northern European states. Plans to build and put in orbit a constellation of monitoring satellites mean Canada is set to spend millions on a maritime surveillance program that will include additional tasks of maintaining control on resource development in the arctic region." UPI

The RADARSAT Constellation shall provide 12 minutes imaging time on average per orbit per satellite, with peak imaging of 20 minutes per orbit per satellite. A significant increase in imaging time for the constellation is possible if more satellites are launched. Analysis is ongoing to determine international imaging requirements and their impact on overall imaging requirements.

S. Korea to launch shipping service on North Pole sea route. "A South Korean shipping company is set to launch a shipping service via a new North Pole shipping route emerged as a result of the melting Arctic sea ice, Yonhap news agency quoted the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries as saying Thursday. A ship of the country's Hyundai Glovis Corporation, carrying 44,000 tons of naphtha, will set sail from Russia's Ust-Luga port on Sunday. It is expected to arrive in South Korea's Gwangyang port in mid-October. The Arctic passage will cut the trip from the South Korea to northern European countries by up to 15 days, compared to 40 days when using the conventional shipping route through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal." Global Times

 

Warm arctic, cold continents: A common pattern related to Arctic sea ice melt, snow advance, and extreme winter weather. "Arctic sea ice was observed to be at a new record minimum in September 2012. Following this summer minimum, northern Eurasia and much of North America experienced severe winter weather during the winter of 2012/2013. A statistical model that used Eurasian snow cover as its main predictor successfully forecast the observed cold winter temperatures. We propose that the large melting of Arctic sea ice may be related to the rapid advance of snow cover, similar to the connection made in studies of past climates between low Arctic sea ice and enhanced continental snowfalls and glacial inception via ice sheet growth." Oceanography

 

Arctic development is ramping up: What do we urgently need to know? "Q: Given the receding sea ice in the Arctic, and increased interest in developing its resources, what do we need to know more about? ... Amid all these facets of the transforming Arctic, which of these areas do you think needs the most attention? What should we all be focusing on? Rate the options below and share your thoughts in the comments." National Geographic

 

A century of human impact on Arctic climate indicated by new models, historic aerosol data. "The Arctic is the most rapidly warming region of the globe, but warming has not been uniform and the drivers behind this warming not fully understood even during the 20th century. A new study authored by Canadian and American investigators and published in Scientific Reports, a primary research publication from the publishers of Nature, suggests that both anthropogenic and natural factors - specifically sulphate aerosols from industrial activity and volcanic emissions, in addition to greenhouse gas releases from fossil fuel burning - account for Arctic surface temperature variations from 1900 to the present." Phys.org

 

Opinion: Commodifying nature: The price of ice. "A graduate student recently interviewed me for his dissertation on Russia, the Arctic, oil and gas. During the interview, he asked me what I believed was the single most important Arctic resource. The answer could have been oil, gas, minerals, fisheries, or any other number of commodities. I responded that oil and gas are probably the most valuable in dollar amounts based on their current prices and the sheer amount that exists in the Arctic. However, their price could drop significantly if there is a revolution in energy production, such as the whisperings going around about drilling for methane hydrates not just in the Arctic's permafrost, but even in the seafloor in countries almost entirely lacking in conventional oil and gas of their own, like Japan." Eye on the Arctic

 

Examining the recent slow-down in global warming. "With upcoming release of IPCC Fifth Assessment Reports beginning late in September, there will be a sharp focus on specific issues like projected sea-level rise but also on broader issues like climate sensitivity and the decade-and-a-half-long slow-down in the rate of overall warming. Let's begin by examining that slow-down in depth, and just what is involved in taking Earth's temperature ..." Yale Climate Media Forum

Legislative Action

  

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events

  

The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (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 Arctic Circle, an open assembly for international cooperation on Arctic issues, will hold its first gathering October 12-14, 2013, at the Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. This event will facilitate working meetings across issues and organizations and provide a forum for discussions hosted by different international and Arctic institutions. Agenda topics will include emerging topics of interest, such as sea ice melt and extreme weather, security, fisheries and ecosystem management, shipping and transportation infrastructure, Arctic resources and tourism."

 
International Forum on Polar Data Activities in Global Data Systems, October 15-16, 2013 (Tokyo, Japan). "The Forum will cover topics on effective polar data management, including submission of metadata and data, sharing of data to facilitate new interdisciplinary science, and long-term preservation and stewardship of data from a global viewpoint. Presentations on the successes and challenges encountered during IPY will highlight not only the best practices learned but also what must yet be done to ensure the data legacy of IPY. 

Presenters from all scientific disciplines are welcome, and interdisciplinary data management topics are especially encouraged. A significant outcome of the Forum will be the development of a new strategy and structure for the Arctic Data Coordination Network under the auspices of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON), IASC, and the Arctic Council. Fruitful discussions between the polar data community (SC-ADM, NADC, and SAON) and WDS-oriented contributors on data management issues are expected to give new horizons on data management and to forge interdisciplinary relationships. In particular, a new plan for polar data archives, such as PIC cloud, is expected to be sufficiently promoted."

 

Draft Agenda

 

Registration closes September 30.

  

The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (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. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments.  

 

The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: www.whoi.edu/projects/FAMOS

  

17th Sitka WhaleFest: "Arctic Sea Change: What's Ahead?" October 31 - November 3, 2013, (Sitka, Alaska). "Sitka WhaleFest presents a unique science symposium blending local knowledge and scientific inquiry concerning the rich marine environment of our northern oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include symposium lectures, interactive student sessions, marine wildlife cruises with scientists, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, student art show, and a fun run/walk."

 

"The Arctic is changing. This is an indisputable fact. How the people and animals who depend upon the Arctic will adapt to change is an open question. How will narwhals and polar bears cope with less summer ice? Bowhead whales may have their world rocked when humpbacks, fins and other baleen whales begin - they already are - feeding in their backyard. The resource users of the Arctic will need to make adjustments and changes to live in this new world. Who will be the sea winners and sea losers? These are questions we will discuss with the experts who are passionate about the Arctic."
 

Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse 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." 

 

Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 

 

"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 

 

Full Conference Agenda

 
Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Released August 15.  The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 

 

For more information about the project please: 

 

View project webpage

 

Read the request for proposals
 
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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