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December 31, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider legislative provisions to prevent the "fiscal cliff." Although Senate leaders and the White House continue to negotiate possible solutions, no bill has been put forward yet, and no votes likely would be taken until the evening. The House will consider a number of measures under suspension of the rules, including the intelligence authorization, as well as a bill calling for condemnation of the North Korean missile launch on Dec. 12. No action on fiscal cliff legislation has been scheduled.

The next update will be published Wednesday, January 2nd.  Happy New Year!



Drill Ship Adrift Again After Towlines Break in Gulf of Alaska Storm.

A Shell drill ship stranded by a fierce storm in the Gulf of Alaska was drifting again Sunday after it broke from lines attaching it to two towing vessels. The lines attaching the drill ship Kulluk to the vessels Aiviq and Nanuq broke Sunday afternoon, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said. The vessels are following the drifting rig, which has no propulsion system of its own, while responders look at ways to reconnect the lines to the Kulluk. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


begich Begich Names New Military-Veterans Affairs Aide.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, has named Robert Doehl as his new special assistant for military and veterans affairs. The Anchorage resident is replacing C.W. Floyd. Doehl recently retired as a colonel after serving as the vice wing commander of the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard. His 32-year military career includes a deployment to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as as trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and an assistant attorney general for the State of Alaska.


canadian flag Canada to Consider Massive Chinese-Owned Arctic Metals Mine.

Another massive Chinese-owned resource project is before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet. Some time in the new year, four federal ministers are to decide how to conduct an environmental review for the Izok Corridor proposal. It could bring many billions of dollars into the Arctic but would also see development of open-pit mines, roads, ports and other facilities in the centre of calving grounds for the fragile Bathurst caribou herd. It would be hard to exaggerate the proposal's scope. Centred at Izok Lake, about 260 kilometres (160 miles) southeast of Kugluktuk, the project would stretch throughout a vast swath of western Nunavut. Alaska Dispatch


Chinaflag China's Unusually Cold Winter Linked to Record Loss of Arctic Sea Ice: Expert.

The unusually cold winter this year in China may be a result of the record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer, Chen Yu, senior engineer of the National Climate Center, told China Daily on Friday. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the United States, Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low on Sept. 16, to an average total area of 3.61 million square kilometers. China Post 


Some Arctic Seals Now Officially Listed as Threatened with Extinction.

First came the polar bear. Now, the federal government has added two other marine mammals to the list of creatures threatened with extinction because of vanishing sea ice in a warming Arctic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has officially listed bearded seal and the ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Los Angeles Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


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.


Development of a 5-Year Strategic Plan for Oil Spill Research in Canadian Arctic Waters, January 28-29, 2013. This workshop is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF), a research program which sponsors environmental and social studies pertaining petroleum exploration, development, and production activities on frontier lands. The ESRF is directed by a joint government, industry and public management board and is administered by the secretariat, which resides in the Office of Energy Research and Development, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The workshop is held in an effort to produce a 5-year strategic plan for oil spill research in Canadian Arctic marine waters.


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 Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."


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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