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Arctic Daily Update: February 25, 2015


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February 25, 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.   


NSAR Tribal Consultations and Stakeholder Outreach meetings for Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy, Round 2, 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). 


capitalToday's Congressional Action:  

The House and Senate are in session.  The House is expected to consider legislation such as S. 227, Strengthening Education through Research Act, and non-Arctic legislation for the remainder of the week.  Behind the scenes, House and Senate staff are working to finalize the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill to fund operations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015.



Jewell, Sally Sec. Jewell on the Hot Seat in Murkowski's Committee.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski confronted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The subject was the president's proposed budget for the Interior Department. But Murkowski used the occasion to bash Jewell for recent department decisions blocking oil development on the North Slope. "Interior's decisions are hurting Alaskans. You're depriving us of jobs, revenue, security and prosperity," Murkowski told her. Alaska Public Radio

The Remote Alaskan Village That Needs to be Relocated Due to Climate Change. This tiny and isolated town of 400 cannot be reached by road. It lies on a fragile barrier island along the Chukchi Sea, 83 miles above the Arctic circle. And for generations, the Iñupiat people of the region have hunted gigantic bowhead whales from camps atop the sea ice that stretches out from the town's icy shores. But in recent years, climate change has thinned the ice so much that it has become too dangerous to hunt the whales. Soon, the U.S. government says, it may be too dangerous to live here at all, with less sea ice to protect the barrier island from powerful waves that wash across the village. Washington Post


Ocean Acidification Risk Assessment for Alaska's Fishery Sector. Have a look... Free access (here) to a scientific paper, by Jeremy Mathis and others, in the journal "Progress in Oceanography." It's an excellent introduction on the topic of acidification and how it might impact Alaska's fisheries (both commercial and subsistence), including shellfish, salmon and other finfish.


John Boehner Will Boehner Risk the Tea Party's Wrath Over DHS Funding. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is back in a familiar spot: between a rock and a hard place. The Senate appears poised to send the House a "clean" bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), free of any measures attacking President Obama's executive actions on immigration. But it's not clear the plan could win the support of even a majority of Boehner's conference. The Hill


[Opinion] The Arctic-An Uncommon Heritage of Humankind. Retired U.S. Admiral James Stavridis wrote a newly published piece in Foreign Policy calling for the negotiation of an Arctic Treaty. To add insult to injury, he also suggested designating the Arctic as a common heritage of all mankind, or global commons. I appreciate how curmudgeonly it seems to oppose things as nice sounding as international treaties and common heritages of mankind. If those things are wrong who wants to be right? Yet the Arctic political and legal community has come to broad consensus over the past decade that in fact such a treaty would be both inappropriate and unnecessary. Alaska Daily News


Nunavik's GDP Rising, But Inuit Not Getting Wealthier: Study. Nunavik's gross domestic product, or GDP, has risen rapidly over the last decade, thanks to the region's small but growing mining industry. The region's GDP - which refers to the market value of all goods and services produced within a given period - has more than tripled over 10 years, from $291 million in 2003 to $887 million in 2012, according to a new report prepared by Laval university economists. Nunatsiaq Online


DARPA Wants Your Help to Monitor the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is a lot busier than it used to be, a state of affairs that's keeping DARPA awake at night. America's mad science division doesn't like not knowing what's going on up there, and so is asking the public for help. The agency has asked for the science and business community to dream up a cheap and easy to maintain Arctic warning system that'll spot threats on land, in the sky and, crucially, below the ice. DARPA isn't that interested in just winterizing some of its existing drone tech, and so is asking users to come up with entirely new inventions. Unfortunately, in order to get up to $750,000 to test the idea, the technology has to be both environmentally friendly and run for a minimum of 30 days between refueling stops. The deadline for responses is April 14th, although we imagine we won't learn who has won for a few years yet. Just be warned: if you're writing a screenplay about undetected submarines attacking Canada via the Arctic Circle, you've only got a few years before it becomes implausible. Engadget


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard Leader Vows Action in Face of Budget Woes. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft is worried about the future of his service, not because of the quality of the people he commands, but because of continued budget uncertainty from lawmakers. Zukunft delivered his first State of the Coast Guard address on Tuesday at headquarters in Washington, D.C., three days before its funding expires and 40,000 active duty members would be forced to work without pay; retiree pay would also be suspended... Zukunft laid out ambitious plans to continue recapitalizing the cutter fleet, revitalize the Coast Guard's maritime safety and inspection systems, develop an Arctic strategy, completing a "human capital plan" to foster a 21st century workforce and working to drive sexual assault out of the force. Navy Times


Coast Guard Analysis Says US Needs 3 Heavy and 3 Medium Icebreakers, Path to Ships Unclear. The U.S. Coast Guard has determined - through independent analysis - it needs three heavy and three medium icebreakers to cover the U.S. anticipated needs in the Arctic and Antarctic, commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, told reporters on Tuesday. However, how the service gets to that number or how it will pay for the ships is still an open question. USNI News


Extreme Science in the Arctic. A research team from Northwestern University was dropped by helicopter in the desolate wilderness of Greenland with four weeks of provisions and the goal of collecting ancient specimens preserved in Arctic lakebeds. This was not the plot of a reality TV show. It was how a group of rugged scientists, led by Northwestern geologist Yarrow Axford, began an Arctic field research expedition to investigate climate change near the rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet during the summer of 2014. Phys.Org


Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 1029/ S. 543, To amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes. (Introduced by Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) and referred to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee./ Introduced by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.)


H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (Considered in the Senate)


S. 544, A bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible. (Introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.)


Future Events

Sea Ice Modeling: Characteristics and Processes Critical for the

Radiation Budget, March 2, 2015 (Webinar). This webinar is designed for the sea ice research community and others interested in learning about sea ice modeling from the global climate model perspective. The speaker will be Elizabeth Hunke, Los Alamos National Laboratory. More details including registration instructions, will be announced closer to the event.

For more information, contact Betsy Turner-Bogren at ARCUS (betsy@arcus.org).


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.

Confirmed speakers:
Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Angus King (ME), USARC Chair Fran Ulmer and Commissioner David Benton, NSF Director France Cordova, USCG VADM Neffenger, and USN RADM White, among others.
Registration required.


 US Arctic Research Commission's 103rd Meeting, March 4-5, 2015 (Washington, DC, USA).  U.S. Arctic Research Commission will hold its 103rd meeting in Washington, District of Columbia, on March 4-5, 2015. The business sessions, open to the public, will convene at 9:00 a.m. The focus of the meeting will be on Arctic policy issues, and on programs and research projects affecting the Arctic. The agenda is available here.


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
Polar Law Symposium (8th) will be held in Alaska (Sept. 23-24, UAF; Sept. 25-26, UAA). It's sponsored by UAF, UAA (and ISER), UAA Justice Center, UW Law School. Abstracts due 3/15/15. This year's conference theme is, "The Science, Scholarship, and Practice of Polar Law: Strengthening Arctic Peoples and Places."

2015 Arctic Energy Summit, September 28-30, 2015 (Fairbanks, Alaska, USA).The Institute of the North's 2015 Arctic Energy Summit builds on our legacy efforts to address energy as a fundamental element of the sustainable development of the Arctic as a lasting frontier.Central to this concept is a focus on providing pathways for affordable energy development in the Arctic and for Arctic communities.

The Call for Presentations ends this Friday.
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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