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Arctic Daily Update: February 18, 2015


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February 18, 2015  

capitalToday's Congressional Action:  

The House is not in session.  The Senate is expected to host a pro forma session.


Alaska Lawmakers Frustrated After Meeting With Interior Secretary Jewell. After President Barack Obama announced a plan to designate most of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, Alaska lawmakers seized a chance to meet his Interior Secretary on their own turf. A team of nine legislators took a break from session work in Juneau to travel to Kotzebue this week to confront Sally Jewell about those actions. But while the meeting was hyped, neither the delegation nor the Secretary described it as a showdown. Alaska Public Radio


budget Murkowski, Jewell Tangle Over Threat of Interior Department Budget Cuts. Alaska leaders continued to pressure U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at a rare event in Northwest Alaska on Tuesday, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski saying that reducing the budget of the Interior Department is just one of the tools she has to control the agency. Jewell took the threat seriously, saying jobs in Alaska are on the line if that happens. The comments, made separately to reporters, were part of an ongoing turf battle between state and federal officials that at times has overshadowed a board retreat organized by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the state's most prominent Alaska Native group. Alaska Dispatch News


Arctic Council 101-What's the Big Deal, Anyway? In many ways, the future of the Arctic is the future of Alaska, and with the U.S. assuming chairmanship of the intergovernmental Arctic Council in April, now is the time to ensure Alaska's voice is heard on the international level. Listen to an overview of what the Arctic Council does and what some of the priorities for the U.S. will be. Alaska Public Radio


Ocean Acidification and How It Affects Alaska's Fisheries. Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, and colder waters are becoming more acidic than warm waters.  What does this mean for Alaska and its fisheries - especially crabs and oysters? Or for the food chain that feeds other species in the ocean?  The answers are beginning to come in from the scientific world, and we'll learn more about ocean acidification on the next Talk of Alaska. Alaska Public Radio


Arctic Ocean Ice Retreats. Scientists sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) revealed the latest findings from a study on Arctic sea ice - with one expert noting that summer sea ice levels could potentially fall to zero before the end of this century. Speaking at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology EXPO, scientists presented initial findings from ONR's Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) experiment that took place last year in the Arctic Ocean-the largest research effort ever using robotic technologies to investigate ice conditions where the frozen ocean meets the open ocean. Armed With Science


US Coast Guard Rescues Australian Fishing Vessel in Antarctica. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued the crew of a ship that was trapped in the Antarctic ice for nearly a week. The Antarctic Chieftain, a 207-foot Australian-flagged fishing vessel, called for help on Feb. 10 when it suffered damage to three of its four propellers after becoming beset in the ice roughly 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, the nation's only heavy icebreaker, had to cut through 150 miles of ice that was up to 20 feet thick in some areas -- at times in whiteout conditions -- to reach the Antarctic Chieftain and rescue its crew of 26. Huffington Post


canadian flag Summary, International Arctic S&T Collaboration and Engagement Workshop. Although there are many opportunities facing the Arctic such as increased resource development and shipping, significant social, environmental and economic challenges remain.  Strengthened bilateral science and technology (S&T) collaboration can assist in better understanding and adapting to these challenges and opportunities. On December 16, 2014, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act received Royal Assent.  As a result, the resources and knowledge of the Canadian Polar Commission (CPC) and the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) will be combined to establish a new federal research organization responsible for advancing Canada's knowledge of the Arctic and strengthening Canadian leadership on polar S&T (coming into force date is to be determined).  The planned CHARS research station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and its nascent S&T Program represent emerging opportunities for increased international collaboration.  Additional opportunities for collaboration also exist with other Canadian polar researchers and institutions. Canadian Polar Commission


Legislative Action

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday. 


Future Events

NSAR Tribal Consultations and Stakeholder Outreach meetings for Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy, Round 2 (Fairbanks (Feb.19), Barrow (Feb. 20), Kotzebue (Feb. 23), Nome (Feb. 24), Bethel (Feb. 25), Unalaska (Feb. 27), Anchorage (Mar. 3), and Juneau (early April, TBD)) The Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy is announcing the second round of tribal consultations and stakeholder outreach meetings on the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR), Ten Year Plan to Accelerate Renewable Energy Deployment in the Arctic Region. For additional information, visit www.energy.gov/indianenergy. Tribal leaders and stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments on the draft Ten Year Plan, submitted to IndianEnergy@hq.doe.gov, or by fax to (202) 586-1534 (by March 21, 2015).


International Symposium on Northern Development, February 25-27, 2015 (Quebec, Canada). The Québec government, in collaboration with Université Laval, will co-chair with the Nordic Council of Ministers the International Symposium on Northern Development. The event will allow for the pooling of knowledge, experience and perspectives in the realm of northern development. It will assemble representatives of the northern countries, the universities and local populations, including the Aboriginal nations, and businesspeople and enterprises. The key themes will be the North as a living environment; the North as a physical territory; the North as a hub of economic development; and, the North as a hub of knowledge training and research.


2015 Public Policy Forum: Predicting and Preparing for a Changing Arctic. March 4, 2015 (Washington, D.C.). The Consortium for Ocean Leadership will host a forum on a changing Arctic.  One panel will discuss the state of knowledge in predicting major changes occurring in the Arctic as well as identifying research and observational gaps.  The second panel will consider the science needs of commercial and community stakeholders living and working in the Arctic. 


 US Arctic Research Commission's 103rd Meeting, March 4-5, 2015 (Washington, DC, USA). More information to come.


PNWER...Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's Arctic Caucus meeting, March 5, 2015, (Washington, DC, USA). More info to come. 


Arctic Summit 2015, March 12, 2014 (Oslo, Norway) The Economist is hosting the Arctic Summit 2015 where discussions will focus on whether commercial interest in the Arctic is a bubble about to burst. There are discounted registration fees are available for NGOs, government, academics, charities and students. There are also discounts for groups of 3 or more people.


Polar Shelves and Shelf Break Exchange in Times of Rapid Climate Warming, March 15-20, 2015 (Lucca, Italy). The GRCs provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies. The guiding principle of a GRC is to encourage communication and discussion of ideas and new unpublished results at the very frontier of a particular field of research, by bringing together outstanding scientists from academia, industry, and government, ranging from senior experts to Ph.D. students. With the increasing impacts of reduced sea ice and warming seawater conditions in both the Arctic and Antarctic, this conference can act as a forum for potentially transformative discussions for interdisciplinary, international and compare/contrast evaluation of polar sciences. In addition, the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) will precede the GRC to provide a forum for graduate students and post-docs to present and exchange new data and cutting edge ideas with experts in the different polar fields of science.


Sweden-U.S. Planning Workshop on Joint Arctic Research Using the I/B Oden, March 30- April 1, 2015 (Stockholm, Sweden). The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic Section is supporting a 'Planning Workshop on joint Arctic Research using the Swedish Class 1A Icebreaker Oden.' This workshop is held in collaboration with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (SPRS) and the Swedish Research Council (Formas and VR). The US delegation will be led by Drs. Patricia Matrai (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) and Peter Minnett (RSMAS, U. Miami), as workshop co-organizers with Dr. Caroline Leck (Stockholm U.). This workshop will bring together those with research and operational/ logistical interests in the Arctic and will discuss a baseline for establishing a new, longer-term collaborative relationship among U.S. and Swedish scientists for Oden-based research in the Arctic Ocean. 


Leadership, Diplomacy and Science: Resolving the Arctic Paradox" April 13-14, 2015, (Medford, MA, USA). The 4th annual Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy International Inquiry on the Warming Arctic will convene high-level decision makers from diplomatic and security circles, cutting-edge energy and science researchers, and social, environmental and business stakeholders to investigate solutions to the Arctic Paradox and promote a sustainable future for Arctic inhabitants within a "High North, Low Tension" policy framework.  Special appearance: the North American debut of the Arctic Circle Assembly's panel "Rising Stars: Young Arctic Energy Researchers".  For more information: WarmingArctic@Tufts.edu


Arctic States Symposium, April 17-19, 2015 (Charlottesville, VA, USA).

ARCTIC STATES, a three-day symposium at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, brings together an international consortium of leading designers and colleagues from allied disciplines to posit the role of design in the rapidly transforming region, and generate critical discussions by sharing recent work that will trace, critique and speculate on its past, present, and future. 

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). The Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) is the annual gathering of the international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world. 

The Polar Geography and Cryosphere, April 21-25, 2015 (Chicago, IL, USA). The Polar Geography and Cryosphere Specialty Groups of the Association of American Geographers will host its annual meeting in Chicago to consider: current topics in human-environment interactions; current topics in politics, resource geographies, and extractive industries; current topics in Antarctic research; advances in cryosphere research; high latitude environments in a changing climate; an mountain ice and snow.

6th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, July 14-16, 2015 (Washington, DC, USA). Program in development...check back soon. To see the programs from prior symposia, click here
The Polar Oceans and Global Climate Change, November 3-6, 2015 (La Jolla, California USA.)  The American Polar Society will host this Symposium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  A flyer with a partial list of presenters is available on the Society's website (americanpolar.org) and from the Society's Membership Chairman by email.


11th International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP 2016), June 20-24, 2016 (Potsdam, Germany). The Alfred Wegener Institute has teamed up with UP Transfer GmbH and the University of Potsdam to organize a great conference for you, permafrost researchers. The conference aims at covering all relevant aspects of permafrost research, engineering and outreach on a global and regional level.


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