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Arctic Daily Update: September 27, 2013

Today's Events
 

The Senate will continue debate on the Continuing Resolution passed by the House of Representatives last week. The House will discuss a few more minor bills under suspension of the rules.

Media   

 

Federal employee Mike Marsh's mission: Getting himself fired, and his agency closed. "Mike Marsh is a federal employee who wrote to Congress this summer with an unusual proposal to save the government money. Fire me, Marsh told lawmakers. And everyone I work with. 'I have concluded that [my agency] is a congressional experiment that hasn't worked out in practice,' wrote Marsh, who is the inspector general for the Denali Commission, an economic-development agency based in Alaska. 'I recommend that Congress put its money elsewhere.' Marsh seems likely to fail, too - even though his requests arrived in Washington in the middle of a battle to cut the budget. His agency seems protected by one of Washington's most enduring customs: the defense of home-state giveaways, even in times of national austerity." Washington Post

 

Agency calls for Arctic offshore lease suggestions. "The Interior Department has put out a call for expressions of interest by the petroleum industry for expanded drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Thursday it has issued a 45-day call for petroleum drillers to comment on additional tracts that could be sold in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. The call is an early step toward a potential targeted lease sale in 2016." Anchorage Daily News

 

To drill or not to drill - that is not the question. "'Mankind has always used nature to survive, and the more time passed, the more it was so. At first it was just gathering and hunting, then it was mineral resources, metals, fossil fuels. Can one stop this? Of course this cannot be stopped. But that is not where the issue lies. The issue is how to do this in a sustainable way, how to minimize the damage on the environment or bring this damage down to zero', Putin said in his speech at the 3rd Arctic Forum in Salekhard on Wednesday. At the same time he pushes for further exploitation of the resources in the Arctic. Russia has great ambitions for oil and gas production in the North both on the shelf and on land, like on the Yamal Peninsula." Barents Observer

 

UN report: Humans are 'dominant' cause of global warming. "A United Nations climate science panel has concluded global warming is "unequivocal" and there's at least a 95 percent chance human activities are the main driver of temperature increases over the last six decades. 'Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia,' states Friday's report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." The Hill

 

IPCC Report: Summary for Policymakers

 

Key findings of IPCC report on climate change.

  • "Global warming is "unequivocal," and since the 1950's it's "extremely likely" that human activities have been the dominant cause of the temperature rise.
  • Concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased to levels that are unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. The burning of fossil fuels is the main reason behind a 40 percent increase in C02 concentrations since the industrial revolution.
  • Global temperatures are likely to rise by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees C, or 0.5-8.6 F, by the end of the century depending on how much governments control carbon emissions"....(continued) Phys.org

 

Opinion: America is failing to meet challenges of a changing Arctic. "America's Arctic, roughly the northern third of Alaska, is our country's last frontier. The harsh weather conditions, ice cover, and persistent darkness have made it difficult for us to take advantage of the vast resources and enormous opportunity of the region. Today, the Arctic is changing faster than any other region in the world. Sea ice is melting quicker and the open ocean is lasting longer than at any time in human history. Open water is darker colored than ice, so it collects more heat, leading to further melt in a downward spiral. In 2012, summer sea ice retreated to its lowest recorded extent. While 2013's ice cover did not fall to the lows of 2012, it was still well below historical averages and maintains a downward trend. While scientists disagree on how soon it will happen, it now appears clear that the Arctic Ocean has passed a tipping point that will eventually lead to completely ice-free summers." Alaska Dispatch

 

Opinion: A New Arctic Agenda Starts With Congress and White House. "Our nation is making another attempt to put its fiscal house in order and it's clear that we need to make wise investments in critical areas affecting the future of the United States. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a coalition of hundreds of international scientists, released its latest report on climate change science Thursday. What's the connection? The panel's completed analysis makes it clear that current climate trends are likely to result in dramatic changes in temperature and sea level rise, and this change is most evident in the Arctic - the planet's air conditioner - where summer sea ice is shrinking at a record pace." Roll Call 

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." 
 
More information: http://www.pacriminstitute.com/Events.html

 

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."

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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