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November 1, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Shell in ChukchiShell's Alaska Drilling Season Falls Short. Shell completed its drilling season off the Arctic coast of Alaska Wednesday, falling short of its original goal of drilling as many as six exploration wells. The company said it drilled the top portions of two wells, the Burger-A well in the Chukchi Sea and the Sivulliq well in the Beaufort Sea, without attempting to penetrate deeper reservoirs that could hold oil. The company said that the work would "go a long way in positioning Shell for another successful drilling program in 2013." Washington Post


A Quest to Document Earth's Disappearing Glaciers. For James Balog, it all began with a 2005 National Geographic assignment to photograph the world's rapidly retreating glaciers. That story brought home to him the severity of glacial retreat worldwide and instilled in him a desire to "preserve the visual memory" of a world of ice fading from view. The result was the Extreme Ice Survey, a project launched in 2007 that has involved the deployment of time-lapse cameras on four continents to record, every half hour during daylight, the shrinking of the world's glaciers. The ongoing survey, done in collaboration with leading glaciologists, led to Balog's recently published book, Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, from which the photographs in the e360 gallery were selected. Balog's all-consuming pursuit is also the subject of a documentary film, Chasing Ice, which is being premiered next week. Yale Environment 360


shellFor Shell, Wait 'Til Next Year in the Arctic: Oil Giant Suspends Drilling Off Alaska until Spring Thaw, After Missing Out on Initial Well Targets. In the frigid seas that surrounded this drilling ship, parked by Royal Dutch Shell between Alaska and the North Pole, there are no signs of humanity, just an endless horizon of empty gray water. The helicopter pilot kept the engine running when he landed on the drill ship's helipad, for fear it wouldn't start again in the harsh cold. Visitors come clad in $3,000 survival suits to give them a fighting chance should their aircraft crash into the sea below. "Alaska is defined by its remoteness," said Pete Slaiby, vice president of Shell's Alaska operations. "What we do here has to be different than what we would do in places like the Gulf of Mexico." Wall Street Journal


Northwest Territories Politicians Question Arctic Highway Spending. Politician Jane Groenewegen, the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Northwest Territories riding of Hay River South, says the Government of Canada's Northwest Territories needs to take a sober second look at the proposed highway to the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The Northwest Territories Finance Minister is asking for $2 million dollars more to study the proposed 140 kilometer gravel highway. Groenewegen said supporters of the project are so passionate about it, "it's practically sacrilege" to question whether it is a good idea. But she says that question needs to be asked. She says federal money alone isn't enough to justify spending on the mega project. Alaska Dispatch


arcticcouncilThe EU As a Prospective Permanent Observer to the Arctic Council: Footholds, Virtues, Concerns and Obstacles. First of all, the EU has overall only weak legal links to the Arctic region and is thus mostly described as an external Arctic actor. However, against the background of the multiple EU-Arctic links as outlined above, some argue that the EU should be seen distinct from its member states because many policy areas that are also of relevance to the Arctic are already regulated at the Commission level and not by member states alone. There are potential concerns among the Arctic Council member states that there would be a stronger use of the rule that the EU's member states, in this case Sweden, Finland and Denmark, have to coordinate their standpoints before meeting in international fora and are required to uphold existing EU positions. The Arctic Institute


russian flagRussia Backs Its Claims for Arctic Shelf with Evidence. A Russian expedition has finished investigations which were meant to prove that the Arctic Shelf in the Arctic Ocean is a continuation of the Eurasian continent, and, thus, should belong to Russia. The expedition lasted 3 months and gathered about 22,000 samples of soil from the Arctic Ocean's bottom. These samples are still to be examined, but drilling of the underwater Mendeleev mountain range, which the expedition made, already provided evidence that this range is a prolongation of the Eurasian continent. Voice of Russia

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      



Foreign Policy Panel Debate: "Is the Law of the Sea Treaty in the United States' Best Interests?" POSTPONED. The American Academy of Diplomacy and the World Affairs Council cosponsor a panel discussion on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited.


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.


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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