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Arctic Daily Update: January 23, 2017


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January 23, 2017  
 
 
 
 
 
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 23-27, 2017 (Anchorage, AK  USA). The annual Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS) is Alaska's premier marine research conference. It brings together roughly 800 scientists, educators, resource managers, students, and interested public to discuss marine research being conducted in Alaskan waters. Research will be presented by geographic theme, including the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea & Aleutian Islands, and the Arctic. Topic areas will include ocean physics, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local traditional knowledge and more. Keynote presentations will be held Monday, January 23rd; Gulf of Alaska presentations will be on Tuesday, Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands on Wednesday, followed by the Arctic on Thursday.
 
Today's Congressional Action:  
The House and Senate are expected to consider non-Arctic legislation. 
Media   
 
[Blog] President Trump, Welcome to the Arctic. U.S. government scientists have just announced that 2016 was the hottest year on record, with a major contribution from the unprecedented warming of the Arctic.  At the same briefing it was also reported that the warming of the Arctic was accompanied by record loss of sea ice and snow cover. The drama of the unraveling Arctic brings immediate challenges to the Trump administration. In May, the State Department is organizing and hosting a ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska to conclude the two-year U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council is the eight-member group of nations bordering the Arctic, and plays a key role in responding to Arctic science and developing appropriate policy. As the chair of the Council, the Secretary of State will be challenged in Fairbanks with the grim reality of a failing Arctic. The Hill
 
Moscow Signs Arctic Seismic Deal. The agreement signed by Medvedev on 18th January prepares the ground for seismic studies all along the two countries' adjacent maritime areas in the Barents Sea. Seismic vessels will from now on be allowed to move all the way to the borderline with streamers. That will give a better understanding of hydrocarbon resources in the area, the countries argue. The oil and gas potential in the two countries' border areas is believed to be substantial. Some believe a major field, an «elephant», could hide in the area. The Barents Observer
 
As New US Administration Assumes Power. As the United States ushers in a new administration, the eight member nations of the Arctic Council are gearing up for their own transition in leadership that'll occur during the council's biennial ministerial meeting to be held this spring here in Fairbanks. "The ministerial is perhaps the most important event in the two-year cycle of the Arctic Council, because it brings the foreign ministers - in our case, the Secretary of State - together to really tie a bow on the work that's been completed," says Adm. Robert Papp, who's served as U.S. special representative for the Arctic since the United States assumed chairmanship of council in 2015. KUAC
 
Edinburgh Scientist Wins Royal Award for Arctic Research. Pete Nienow, of Edinburgh University, will be given the royally-approved Polar Medal for his work on Arctic glaciers. The geoscientist has spent more than two decades measuring the effect of climate change on glaciers. The Polar Medal, first given to members of Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition, recognizes explorers and scientists who have endured hardships and advanced understanding of the Polar Regions. STV
 
Polar Bear Cubs at High Risk from Toxic Industrial Chemicals, Despite Bans. Polar bears are facing trouble inside and out. The animals are losing habitat as global warming melts sea ice. Now a study shows bears' bodies hold toxic chemicals originally made in distant factories, substances that threaten adult bears' health at a level 100 times greater than the acceptable threshold of risk for humans. For cubs, the risk is more than 1,000 times that threshold. These risks have remained high, particularly in cubs, despite restrictions or bans on many of these chemicals more than a decade ago. Whereas the restrictions have reduced overall pollutant levels in cubs, the pace of reduction is being slowed by more recently produced chemicals that are not yet banned, says the study, which was published online in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry on January 5. "There is definitely a cause for concern," says Melissa McKinney, a polar bear researcher at the University of Connecticut who was not involved in the study. She says this and other recent research "strongly suggest there's a very high likelihood of toxicological risk from polar bears' exposure." The chemicals could be especially harmful to bears' ability to reproduce. Scientific American
 
Permafrost Thaw Will Have Devastating Impact on Buildings. "A significant (at least 25%) climate-induced reduction in the urban infrastructure stability throughout the Russian permafrost region should be expected by the mid-21st century," the joint US-Russian science study published in Geographical Review reads. A worst-case scenario could lead to a 75-95% reduction in bearing capacity throughout the permafrost region by 2050, the researchers write in the publication.
Barents Observer
Legislative Actionfutureevents  
 
No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.
Future Events
 
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 23-27, 2017 (Anchorage, AK  USA). The annual Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS) is Alaska's premier marine research conference. It brings together roughly 800 scientists, educators, resource managers, students, and interested public to discuss marine research being conducted in Alaskan waters. Research will be presented by geographic theme, including the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea & Aleutian Islands, and the Arctic. Topic areas will include ocean physics, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local traditional knowledge and more. Keynote presentations will be held Monday, January 23rd; Gulf of Alaska presentations will be on Tuesday, Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands on Wednesday, followed by the Arctic on Thursday.
 
In Defense of the Arctic: Assessing US Security Concerns, January 24, 2017 (Washington, DC USA). The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) hosts this event. In 2013, the Department of Defense released its strategy for the Arctic region, which discussed efforts to safeguard US national interests and protect the homeland. The FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) required the Secretary of Defense to develop a new military strategy to respond to Russia's growing military presence in the Arctic. This strategy would focus on how to protect American citizens and the homeland while ensuring freedom of navigation and support US economic and trade interests. The strategy was required to identify the infrastructure, force posture, and capabilities the US needs to ensure the region remains stable to conflict free. Senator Sullivan will discuss the Defense Department's new Arctic strategy and future of the US policy toward the Arctic. His keynote remarks will be followed by a discussion with former senior US defense officials who closely follow military developments in the Arctic and Northern Europe.
 
Changing Arctic: How It's Impacting Our Weather, February 2, 2017 (Washington, DC USA). Profound changes in the Arctic have coincided with more frequent extreme weather events across the mid-latitudes, was as Washington, DC. These events include intense heat and rainfall, and severe winter cold spells and snow storms. Scientists are actively addressing if and how Arctic change is connected to these events, which impact economies, geopolitics, security, and society at large. The evening lecture will feature experts discussing scientists' understanding of these events and the impact this has on society. This event is hosted by US CLIVAR (US Climate Variability and Predictability Program) 
 
Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 6-10, 2017 (Anchorage, AK  USA). This statewide gathering of environmental professionals, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders will be holding its 19th meeting to continue providing a strong educational foundation for all Alaskans and a unique opportunity to interact with others on environmental issues and challenges. As many as 1,800 people are expected to attend AFE this years meeting.
 
6th Annual Fletcher Arctic Conference, February 17-18, 2017 (Medford, MA USA). Fletcher Arctic VI, a TEDx-style event, will showcase the ideas, stories, and initiatives of people who live and work in the Arctic. The conference will bring together inspiring leaders, innovative business people, expert scientists, and artists from the pan-Arctic region. Building on The Fletcher School's interdisciplinary approach, Fletcher Arctic VI will be a forum to engage in conversation and spark open and constructive debate between speakers and participants, providing deep insights into this unique and rapidly changing region.
 
IV International Forum, March 2017 (Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation) Arkhangelsk will host the Forum. The Forum will be titled Human in the Arctic and will be aimed at putting together joint efforts of the international community to promote effective development of the Arctic region as a territory for comfort life, work and leisure. The Forum will be attended by government officials, representatives of international organizations and prominent business communities, centers for political studies, Polar researchers and members of the international Arctic expeditions, foreign political scientists and economists, Russian and foreign journalists from leading international media organizations. The Forum will be attended by the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin. Additional information will be announced here.
 
The Arctic Science Summit Week, March 31- April 7, 2017 (Prague, Czech Republic). This event is sponsored by the University of South Bohemia in Cecke Budejovice, the Faculty of Science, and the Center for Polar Ecology of the Czech Republic. The Science Symposium will address the three sub-themes: changes in the Arctic, global implications of Arctic changes, and images of global change on the Arctic.
The 4th annual Arctic Encounter Symposium (AES) will convene policymakers, industry leaders, and leading experts to confront the leading issues in Arctic policy, innovation, and development in Seattle, WA at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. As the largest annual Arctic policy event in the United States, the AES mission is to raise awareness, engage challenges, and develop solutions for the future of a region and a people. The two-day program includes two keynote luncheons, expert plenary sessions, break out sessions, a networking cocktail reception and seated three-course dinner.
 
International Conference on Arctic Science: Bringing Knowledge to Action, April 24- 27, 2017 (Reston, VA  USA). This conference builds on a previous conference from 2011 entitled "Arctic Messenger of Change Conference." The 2017 conference will provide updated scientific, decision-making, and policy-relevant information across a broad array of different Arctic issues and related scientific disciplines. The topics that will be addressed are:
  • The Arctic Cryosphere
  • Pollution in the Arctic
  • Human Health Aspects of Pollution and Climate Change
  • Global and Arctic Systems Feedback Mechanisms
  • Resilience within Arctic Ecosystems
  • Science and Policy Making
  • Socio-Economic Drivers and Impacts of Arctic Change
Organizers announce a call for abstracts which are due by December 2, 2016.  The event is organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP).
Ninth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences: People and Places (ICASS IX), June 8-12, 2017 (Umea, Sweden). ICASS IX's theme is People & Place. Research on social sciences and humanities have a great responsibility to address the challenges for sustainable development in the Arctic, with a specific focus on the many different parts of the Arctic and the people that live there. The multiple Arctics have lately been addressed by many policy makers and researchers. The purpose is often to counteract the stereotypic understanding of the Arctic too often represented by icebergs and polar bears. A focus on people and place highlights the many variances across the region in terms of climate, political systems, demography, infrastructure, history, languages, legal systems, land and water resources etc.
 
The 2nd Asian Conference on Permafrost, July 2-6, 2017 (Sapporo, Japan). Delegates will participate in state-of-the-art oral and poster presentations in the modern city of Sapporo (host of the 1972 Winter Olympics). Field trips will visit marginal and extrazonal mountain permafrost sites that support unique geo-eco-hydrological features. All aspects of frozen ground research will be covered, from needle ice to deep permafrost, from frozen ground engineering in cities to permafrost on volcanoes, and from links between frozen ground and ancient cultures to present-day outreach. Plan now to enjoy science and engineering, excellent food, and unique field trips in Sapporo.
 
Co-hosted by U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC). A biennial symposium originating in 2001 that focuses on U. S. naval operations and national strategic issues in an "ice-free Arctic." This symposium brings together nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.
2017 Arctic Energy Summit, September 18-20, 2017 (Helsinki, Finland). The 2017 Summit will address energy in the Arctic as it relates to:
  • Small and off-grid community energy solutions
  • Oil and gas development
  • Renewable energy
  • Regulation and Financing
  • Transportation and transmission
The AES is a multi-disciplinary event expected to draw several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policy makers, energy professionals and community leaders together to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues.
 
Polar Law Symposium 2017 and Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit, November 13-16, 2017 (Rovaniemi, Finland). The purpose of the Polar Law Symposium is to examine, in detail, the implications of the challenges faced by the Polar Regions for international law and policy and to make recommendations on appropriate actions by states, policy makers and other international actors to respond to these emerging and re-emerging challenges. The Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit Conference is integrated with the Polar Law Symposium, which will be organized by the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Center of the University of Lapland.
 
POLAR 2018, June 15-27, 2018 (Davos, Switzerland). POLAR2018 is a joint event from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). The SCAR meetings, the ASSW and the Open Science Conference will be hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL under the patronage of the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research. The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is organizing POLAR2018.
 
As the Symposium is organized jointly by two leading Research Institutes of Russian Academy of Science - Institute of Water Problems and Melnikov Permafrost Institute, particularly the contributions on following research topics are welcome:
  • Observational evidences of change in coupled permafrost-hydrology system.
  • Present state and future projections of local, regional and pan-Arctic hydrology.
  • Modeling studies representing landscape evolution, dynamics of water storages and permafrost degradation.
  • Impacts of permafrost hydrology changes on local communities."
VII International Conference on Cryopedology, August 21-25, 2017 (Yaktsk, Russia). The conference will be hosted by the Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS). Plenary reports will be organized in the hall of the Academy of Sciences of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. The official languages of the conference are English and Russian (with translation). All technical facilities (projectors, computers, video sets) will be available during the conference for presentation of papers. Additional information will be available soon. See the Facebook page here.

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