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Arctic Daily Update: January 25, 2016


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January 25, 2016  
 
2016 Arctic Frontiers, January 24-29, 2015 (Tromso, Norway).The Arctic is a global crossroad between commercial and environmental interests. The region holds substantial natural resources and many actors are investigating ways to utilise these for economic gain. Others view the Arctic as a particularly pristine and vulnerable environment and highlight the need to limit industrial development. Arctic Frontiers 2016 will discuss the balance between resource utilisation and preservation, and between industrial and environmental interests in the Arctic. Envisioning a well-planned, well-governed, and sustainable development in the Arctic, how can improved Arctic stewardship help balance environmental concerns with industrial expansion? How can the industrial footprints from future business activities be minimised? And last, but not least, what role will existing and emerging technologies play in making industrial development profitable and environmentally friendly, securing a sustainable growth scenario for Arctic communities?
 
16th Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 25-29, 2016 (Anchorage, AK, USA). A valuable meeting focusing on research results from the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. Good, in-depth, research from Alaska's marine regions.The agenda is available here. 
Today's Congressional Action:  
The House and Senate are not in session.
 
Media  
 
capital House Declares Snow Week. The House will be out of session this week due to "the severity of the winter storm in the D.C. area," according to an email sent to lawmakers on Sunday. The House was already scheduled for a short week, with Democratic lawmakers attending their annual legislative retreat in Baltimore from Wednesday to Friday. More than 10,000 flights were cancelled to and from the East Coast due to the blizzard this weekend, making air travel back to the nation's capital a perilous prospect. The Hill
 
US Strategy for Arctic Includes the Aleutians and Bering Sea. The rain-drenched Aleutian Islands, which curve from Alaska's mainland to Asia, lie about 800 to 1,000 miles south of the Arctic Circle. So why do the U.S. government's Arctic plans include enhanced shipping safety in the Aleutians and the similarly subarctic Bering Sea? There is a legal explanation. The 1,200-mile Aleutian chain, the Bering and other subarctic areas are considered part of the Arctic for the purposes of federal policy. Alaska Dispatch News
 
[Opinion] A Canadian Threat to Alaskan Fishing. FROM fall through spring, the fleet of commercial fishing boats here in the panhandle of Alaska stalk winter king salmon. In the mornings prisms of ice sparkle beneath the sodium lights of the docks, where I live on a World War II tugboat with my wife and 8-month-old daughter. This winter I've been out a few times fishing on the I Gotta, catching pristine wild salmon, torpedoes of muscle. But the work is slow, five fish a day, and my skipper recently traveled down to Reno, Nev., for knee surgery. New York Times
 
Researchers: 'Blob' of Unusually Warm Ocean Water May be Causing Seabirds to Starve. Thousands of the dead seabirds have been washing ashore along the state's coasts over the past several months. And Alaska Audubon spokeswoman Beth Peluso says hundreds of weak and emaciated murres have been spotted elsewhere around the state in areas they're not known to frequent. "Some of these birds that they've been finding are really starving," Peluso said. "They're not in good shape." KUAC
 
[Opinion] Heavy Fuel Oil: A Threat to Arctic Environment, People. We've all heard the expression "killing two birds with one stone." For those of us who live in the Arctic, this is a way of life. We have long traditions of being highly effective and efficient to survive in extreme conditions. By necessity, we make every action count for several times its worth. Today, the Arctic faces modern challenges. The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Arctic seas are melting, the seasons are shifting, and changes to so many of our ways of life hang in the balance. Alaska Dispatch News
 
Hometown U: 'Sniffing Out' a Changing Arctic. Say you're a ship captain navigating up Cook Inlet toward Anchorage, loaded to your portholes with -- oh, strawberries, cars, Christmas presents, diesel fuel. About 80 percent of food and fuel consumed in Alaska arrives through this port. On a dark and stormy night, how can you know the path ahead is free of sea ice? Or, you're the Coast Guard, responsible for ensuring foreign fishing vessels don't drift into U.S. waters. You can't be everywhere at once, so how do you monitor territory you can't even see? Alaska Dispatch News
 
Federal Agency Calls for Research into Alaska Seabird Deaths. A federal laboratory that assesses disease in wildlife is calling for more research into the deaths of thousands of common murres and other seabirds off Alaska's coast. The National Wildlife Health Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey, on Friday issued a wildlife bulletin on emaciated common murres found dead over the past 11 months. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
 
What's Behind the Arctic's Increasing Carbon Dioxide Fluctuations? It's no mystery why carbon dioxide (CO2) levels fluctuate with the seasons: As greenery grows in the spring and summer, it soaks up the planet-warming gas, and when trees shed their leaves in the autumn, some of that gas returns to the atmosphere. But scientists haven't figured out why the differences between summer and winter concentrations of CO2 have been growing substantially at Arctic latitudes since the 1960s-in some regions, the fluctuations have increased as much as 25%. A new computer simulation fingers long-term warming in the Arctic, which has led to the proliferation of plants across large swaths of the landscape. The simulation was calibrated by using satellite observations, which have long showed increased greening across much of the Arctic since the early 1980s (including tundra sites such as those in eastern Russia, above). If the effects of climate change weren't included in the model, the trends toward bigger seasonal variations in CO2 at Arctic latitudes disappeared, researchers report online today in Science. Science Magazine
 
Legislative Actionfutureevents  
 
No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.
 
Future Events
   
Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 8-12, 2016 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA). The Alaska Forum on the Environment (AFE) is Alaska's largest statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders. The diversity of attendees and comprehensive agenda sets this conference apart from any other. Each year there are over 80 technical breakout sessions and sensational Keynote Events. There will be a full week of sessions on climate change, energy, environmental regulations, cleanup and remediation, fish & wildlife, solid waste, and more.
 
** New this week** ARCUS DC Arctic Research Seminar Series, February 18, 2016 (Washington, DC). Does it seem as though the weather gods have gone crazy lately? It is not your imagination. The question on everyone's minds is why? And is it related to climate change? In this presentation, I will explain new research that links increasing extreme weather events with the rapidly warming and melting Arctic during recent decades. Evidence suggests that Arctic warming is causing weather patterns to become more persistent, which can lead to extremes such as droughts, cold spells, heat waves, and some flooding events. 
 
43rd Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association, March 2-6, 2016 (Sitka, Alaska, USA). The Alaska Anthropological Association will be holding its 43rd Annual Meeting in Sitka, Alaska.  This year it is being organized by archaeologists and anthropologists of the National Park Service - Alaska Region.
 
5th Annual Fletcher Opening Arctic Conference, March 12, 2016. The Opening Arctic Conference builds on the Fletcher School's Warming Arctic International Inquiry series, to bring together high-level thought leaders from across disciplines, Fletcher's hallmark. Staged annually, Fletcher's event continues to address the foreign policy, economic, environmental and security implications of the opening Arctic, while dispelling myths.
 
Arctic Science Summit Week Arctic Observing Summit, March 12-18, 2016 (Fairbanks, AK, USA). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations that support and facilitate long-term planning in Arctic research. In 2016, ASSW will be held in conjunction with AOS, which brings people together to facilitate the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long-term operation of an international network of Arctic observing systems.
  
Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 26-28, 2016 (Fairbanks, Alaska, USA). The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 10th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference.   

14th IATS Seminar, June 19-25, 2016 (Bergen, Norway). The University of Bergen (UiB) is honored to host the 14th IATS Seminar in Bergen, Norway, from Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 June 2016 in co-operation with the Network for University Co-operation Tibet-Norway, an academic network with the universities of Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø as partners. The convenor is Professor Hanna Havnevik, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and Chair of the Network.
 
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.
  
Inuit traditions are a repository of Inuit culture and a primary expression of Inuit identity. The theme for the 2016 Inuit Studies Conference invites Elders, knowledge-bearers, researchers, artists, policy-makers, students and others to engage in conversations about the many ways in which traditions shape understanding, while registering social and cultural change. The institutional hosts of "Inuit Traditions," Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Nunatsiavut Government, invite you to contribute to an exchange of knowledge to be held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, October 7-10, 2016. Presentations on all aspects of Inuit studies will be welcome.
 

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