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Arctic Daily Update: September 25, 2013

Arctic Update Header
September 25, 2013  
 
 
 
 

 

The Senate will continue debate on the Continuing Resolution passed by the House of Representatives last week. The House returns today to debate four bills under suspension of the rules.


Media   

 

Greenpeace activists are no pirates, but they broke the law - Putin. "'I don't know what really happened [at Prirazlomnaya], but it is obvious that they are not pirates. But formally they tried to take over the platform', Putin said. According to the President, the situation in the Pechora Sea could have been rather hard to understand: 'Our law enforcement organs, our border guards did not understand who were trying to take over the platform, pretending to be Greenpeace. On the background of what recently happened in Kenya, it could have been anyone'. But it is totally clear that these people were violating international law when they approached the platform, breaking the safety distance." Barents Observer

 

Arctic leaders talk tapping riches without ruining environment. "Finding a way to extract the vast riches of the Arctic region without subjecting it to technological disasters is what leaders of Arctic countries, businessmen, scientists and environmentalists discuss at a forum in Russia. The Arctic is the potential source of natural resources in unparalleled quantities: primarily hydrocarbons, but also fish, fresh water and minerals. Under the frigid waters some 20 per cent of world oil reserves and 30 per cent of natural gas reserves are thought to be awaiting extraction. And the rapid climate change makes those previously economically unfeasible or technologically inaccessible riches more attractive." RT

 

Salmon Farmed vs. wild salmon: Can you taste the difference? "Read a story about salmon, and the odds are good that, somewhere, it'll tell you that wild salmon tastes better than farmed. But does it? We decided to find out in a blind tasting, and assembled a panel that included noted Washington seafood chefs and a seafood wholesaler. The fish swam the gamut. We had wild king from Washington, frozen farmed from Costco, and eight in between, including Verlasso farmed salmon from Chile, which is the first open-pen farmed salmon to get a Seafood Watch 'buy' recommendation. The tasters came from the Food section and the local seafood scene." Washington Post

 

Alaska commercial fishermen shatter all-time salmon harvest record. "By mid-September, Alaska's record commercial salmon harvest had surpassed a staggering 269 million fish -- more than 21 percent above the previous mark. The pink harvest of 216 million fish also was way beyond the previous record of 161 million humpies in 2005 -- an increase of some 34 percent. Preliminary harvest totals published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game also put the sockeye salmon catch at 29.5 million fish, the silver harvest at 4.9 million fish and the king salmon harvest at 307,000 fish." Alaska Dispatch

 

Seldom spoken truth in subsistence battle: How unproductive Alaska lands really are. "'Alaska's long, bitter subsistence battle is back in the news again. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, last week called a hearing to discuss how to resolve an issue that has divided Alaskans for decades. 'One area of agreement is that things aren't working as promised,' she said. What she failed to note, however, is that it now appears things are never going to work, short of some dramatic recession that depopulates the 49th state.'" Alaska Dispatch

 

BLM confirms strategy for old Alaska well cleanup. "The Bureau of Land Management will focus on 16 high priority sites as part of its strategy for cleaning up old exploratory wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Another 34 wells in the 35,635-square mile reserve on Alaska's North Slope will be remediated as money is made available, the agency said in releasing its plan for NPR-A legacy wells. 'While this final plan lays out an aggressive strategy to address 16 of our highest priority wells, we continue to work with our partners to determine the next steps on the remaining wells requiring remediation,' BLM Alaska director Bud Cribley said." Anchorage Daily News

 

Global warming could unleash disease in Arctic - Russian scientist. "Melting permafrost and warmer temperatures in the Arctic could trigger the release of both known and new infectious diseases in the region, a Russian scientist warned Tuesday. Speaking at 'The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue' forum, Boris Revich from the Moscow-based Institute of Forecasting said it is essential to carry out research now in order to reduce the risks of outbreaks. 'There is a risk that the melting of the permafrost could release the anthrax virus from thawed cattle burial grounds,' Revich said. 'We need to understand whether it's a risk, whether we can forecast it or whether we can forget about it.'" RIA Novosti


Legislative Action

  

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

 


Future Events

 

Pacific Rim Institute Panel Discussion: Environmental Permitting Process Risks and Efficiency, October 4, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "Hosted by Pacific Rim Institute, the discussion brings together Alaska's regulating, regulated, science and NGO communities to identify realistic and achievable actions that could help sustain and enhance investment into responsible resource development projects while maintaining full compliance with environmental laws. The group will be asked to comment on the record of effectiveness, what is working well and what could be improved, to identify priorities and action items. Consistent with PRI's mission, the meeting aims to promote trust and to reduce uncertainly around regulatory risks by encouraging predictable, efficient, rigorous permitting process, while highlighting consequences of, what some may call, arbitrary or untimely decisions." 
 

 

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: 

 

 

 
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."

Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014. Tampa, Florida. Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson (stephenson@ucla.edu) for more information, and see attached flyer. 

 

Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11, Helsinki, Finland. ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here

 

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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