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December 15, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider two measures under suspension of the rules. The Senate will begin consideration of the legislative vehicle for the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that would help communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. 



coldwindsblowingNovember Cold, Lack of Snow Deepens Frost Line. The foot and a half of snow that fell in Fairbanks last week probably won't do too much to protect underground sewer and water pipes from freezing, say the people who thaw those pipes. "I'm afraid it's too late," Ken Born, owner of Homestead Pumping and Thawing in North Pole, said. "I'm pretty sure the damage has been done." The lack of snow in October and November, combined with the two-week cold snap that preceded the big dump of snow, has already driven the frost line down deeper than it normally is. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Survey: Alaskans Speak Out About Their Biggest Health Concerns. Alcohol abuse, cost of health care and weight issues topped the issues Alaskans are most concerned about, according to the recently completed Healthy Alaskans 2020 survey. The results of the survey, which was conducted in October, and released earlier this month are part of an state effort to improve the overall health and wellness of Alaska residents by 2020. In addition to the top three issues, the 1,500 Alaskans who took part in the survey also listed substance abuse, violence, community safety, quality of life and well-being, sexual and reproductive practices, chronic disease and education as top concerns.  Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Major Turnover Ahead for Alaska's Federal Wildlife Agencies. A quietly profound generational change is about to sweep through federal agencies here in the nation's biggest and wildest state - but also by many measures, its most government-dependent - where hundreds of millions of acres of public land are set aside for national parks and preserves. The change is being driven by new rules in the federal retirement system that Congress started to phase in during 2009 and, by dint of various schedules and formulas, are hitting home between now and Jan 1. The new rules are focused specifically on equalizing retirement benefits among workers in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories and the lower 48 states. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Begich, Akaka and Inouye Urge Pilot Emissions Program for Cruise Ships. Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich called on the EPA in a letter Thursday to establish a pilot program to allow cruise ships to average their emissions to comply with a new pollution control standard, a request that parallels an effort his home-state colleague has tried to advance through the appropriations process. Begich, along with Hawaii Democrats Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye, said their states' unique locations make them dependent upon frequent shipments of goods from the lower 48 states, and that cruise ship traffic contributes significantly to their tourism industries. Congressional Quarterly


ADF&G Taking Comment on Five-Year, Fish-Stocking Plan. The Division of Sport Fish is now accepting public comment on its statewide fish stocking plan. The five-year plan calls for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to release approximately 7 million fish of various sizes into Alaska waters each of the next five years. The stocking plan outlines the location, number, and size/life stage for each species of fish the department plans to stock. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


EPAEPA Targets Deadliest Pollution: Soot. The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening the standard for how much soot in the air is safe to breathe. Fine particles come from the combustion of fossil fuels by cars and industrial facilities. They're linked to all kinds of health problems, including heart attacks and lung ailments like asthma. States will be required to clean up their air to the level specified by the new standard. National Public Radio 



To Solve Our Debt Problems, Let's Sell Alaska. The prospect of once again hitting the federal debt ceiling has provoked the ritual round of hand-wringing about the intractable nature of this $16 trillion conundrum. But there is a simple, elegant option that involves no tax increases, no spending cuts and just a bit of imagination. Sell Alaska. That's right. Put the entire state - from Juneau to Deadhorse, from the Bering Strait to the Beaufort Sea - on the auction block. Washington Post 


Arctic to Become Next Gateway to Space? Sweden's small Arctic town of Kiruna has a surprisingly international airport with regular flights to London and Tokyo, but it has even bigger plans: to offer commercial space flights. Spaceport Sweden, a company founded in 2007, hopes to be able to provide the first flights within a decade from Kiruna's airport. "We're working on establishing commercial flights from Sweden to space for tourism and research, and to create a launching pad at the airport," explained the company's enthusiastic director, Karin Nilsdotter, seated in her office at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF). Discovery


Northcom Strives to Promote Safe, Secure Arctic. The Arctic, the northernmost part of the Earth, is one of the last frontiers -- a region so isolated and impenetrable that few humans have ever experienced its unforgiving conditions and austere beauty. But with increased melting of the Arctic ice cap, officials at U.S. Northern Command recognize new opportunities opening up for the international community, but also the related safety and security challenges. Department of Defense 


Mini-Observatory Now Streaming Data from Arctic Waters. After a year and a half in development with the Government of Nunavut and the community of Cambridge Bay, a new mini-observatory is now streaming continuous data from the Arctic seafloor. In August 2012, the Nunavut Research Institute granted a five-year research license to the University of Victoria's Ocean Networks Canada-which manages the world-leading VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada observatory networks-for the first year-round cabled undersea monitoring system of the northern environment. "This specially designed scaled-down version of our seafloor networks off the coast of Vancouver Island will support longer-term science-based understanding of the dramatic changes taking place in Arctic waters," says Dr. Kim Juniper, the associate director of science for NEPTUNE Canada, as he introduced the system at the annual Arctic Net conference held this year in Vancouver. "These changes include the historic receding of the northern sea ice and its impact on marine ecosystems." Phys.Org


russian flagRussia Revives Northern Sea Route. After a break of many years, Russia is reviving its Northern Sea Route. 80 years ago, the Chief Board of the Northern Sea Route was formed in the Soviet Union. Initially, the route was meant for transporting ordinary cargoes. However, in the time of the Cold War, the Northern Route acquired a military significance as well. It was used to supply Soviet frontier posts and military intelligence bases in the Arctic Ocean with equipment (sometimes, these intelligent bases were "camouflaged" as meteorological stations). Deep in the Arctic Ocean, submarines, equipped with nuclear missiles, were defending the Soviet Union's north from possible enemy attacks. The Voice of Russia


Poinsettia Crop Provides Research Opportunity at UAF. Poinsettias are in bloom at the University of Alaska Fairbanks this week, which is a bigger accomplishment than many might suspect. Growing the Mexican holiday flower in the depths of an Alaska winter is an annual triumph for students at UAF, who nurture it from a nondescript green houseplant to a colorful centerpiece during the fall semester. UAF horticulture professor Meriam Karlsson grew at least 200 of the plants this year with students in her Introduction to Plant Science class. The annual project, which has been under way for at least the past decade, is more than just a holiday ritual. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


RAIPON. Today [Voice of Russia] are returning to look at one of the most interesting and controversial geographic areas of our world today in terms of the environment; that is, at the Arctic. The indigenous peoples who live in the Russian part of the Arctic have been represented within Russia since 1999 by an organisation called RAIPON, standing for Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East. This organisation lobbies for the interests on a governmental level of about 250,000 people, who made up of members 41 indigenous groups including the Aleut, Yupik and Inuit (Iņupiat) peoples living on Russian territory. RAIPON also works as a consultative body with relevant UN organizations and is, or at least was a permanent member of the influential Arctic Council, which was founded by the eight Arctic countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Island, Canada, USA, and Russia in 1996. Voice of Russia 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.  


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. 


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include

response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

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