Arctic Update Header
October 3, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, October 3-5, 2012. AMAP will host a working group meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.


Friday deadline for nominees for the Arctic study committee. Please submit nominations for individuals to serve on the National Research Council's (NRC) new study on Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic by Friday, October 5. 


This study (sponsored by federal agencies including the USARC) is designed to provide guidance on future research questions in the Arctic over the next 10-20 years, identify the key scientific questions that are emerging in different realms of Arctic science and exploring both disciplinary realms (e.g., marine, terrestrial, atmosphere, cryosphere, and social sciences) and cross cutting realms (e.g., integrated systems science and sustainability science). The study will also help identify research infrastructure needs (e.g., observation networks, computing and data management, ship requirements, shore facilities, etc.) and collaboration opportunities. 

The 16-member committee will meet approximately four times, including a small community workshop and additional conference calls as necessary, to conduct the study and write a report. The committee will need expertise in a range of areas, such as Arctic marine and terrestrial systems (both ecological and physical), atmosphere, cryosphere (including sea ice, land ice, permafrost), climate/weather, resource management, and selected social sciences. We are also seeking nominations for members who bring some experience in science management, indigenous or traditional knowledge, and international collaboration. To nominate, submit the person's name, affiliation, contact information, area of expertise, and a brief statement on why the person is relevant to the study topic. Please submit your nominations to Elizabeth Finkelman ( no later than Friday, October 5, 2012. 



Oil Drilling in AlaskaThe Real Dangers of Arctic Drilling. [Opinion] Shell Oil has called it quits for this year on its first Arctic drilling rig. First, there was danger of a city-size chunk of floating ice smashing into the rig just hours after exploratory drilling began. Days later, a test of its oil-spill containment dome ended in a tangled mess on the ocean bottom. This is the same company whose spill-containment vessel hasn't passed government safety inspections, whose drilling rig broke loose from its anchor and nearly smashed into the shore before it even left harbor and whose drilling fleet doesn't meet U.S. pollution standards. Politico


Scientists Team With U.S. Coast Guard to Explore Ice-Free Arctic Ocean. With the melting ice in the Arctic, U.S. Coast Guard crews based in Alaska have taken on a new challenge: carefully deploying scientific equipment through cracks in the ice from an airplane hundreds of feet in the air. It's all part of a new partnership that has evolved since disappearing Arctic ice has opened vast new frontiers -- for the Coast Guard and for University of Washington scientists. Science Daily


canadian flagCanadian Coast Guard Ship Pierre Radisson Returns From the Arctic. The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, is pleased to welcome back today the crew members of the CCGS Pierre Radisson, the first of the Canadian Coast Guard Ships to return from its missions in the Arctic in 2012. "This is the CCGS Pierre Radisson's 33rd Northern mission and the third time the Canadian Coast Guard has participated in Operation Nanook, confirming our commitment to contributing to implementing the Government of Canada's Northern Strategy," said Minister Ashfield. "This summer, the CCGS Pierre Radisson continued its search and rescue, icebreaking, commercial shipping assistance, scientific research, and navigational aid and waterway maintenance missions in areas such as Frobisher Bay, Hudson Bay and Churchill." MarketWire


Foreign Spies Target the Arctic. Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that foreign spies are using established and new methods to illegally gain information on developments in the Barents and other Arctic areas, much of which is Norwegian territory. A growing number of international players in the area has also led to the boom in spying against the two Scandinavian countries. "I can confirm that we, like our Danish sister organization, are seeing increased intelligence gathering in this area," Martin Bernsen of Norway's police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) told Aftenposten. "We see that certain countries are actively trying to gain a foothold in the far north." News and Views from Norway


arctic shippingNorway Port Set to Boom on Iron Ore to China: Freight. Three yellow construction cranes tower over heavy machinery and clusters of workers as they bustle in the Norwegian Arctic drizzle to get a new iron ore terminal ready by the beginning of next year. The port of Narvik, where the waters around a ship at the existing loading quay are tainted red by iron ore dust, is preparing for an economic boom. Iron ore from neighboring Sweden via Narvik is forecast by the port to surge fivefold by 2025, much of it bound for China. That is bringing wealth to a city lacking the oil riches most of Norway enjoys. Narvik is banking on Northland Resources SA (NAUR) which, like Sweden's LKAB, is ramping up production at its Swedish iron ore mines. Northland plans to start extraction in Kaunisvaara in the fourth quarter and make its first shipments from Narvik early next year. The stock could more than double in value in the coming 12 months, according to the average share price estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Bloomberg Businessweek


Russia Could Resume Subcritical Nuclear Bomb test Arctic, Sources Say. Russia has beefed up military security surrounding its old Arctic nuclear test archipelago of Novaya Zemlya in preparation for so-called subcritical nuclear tests of its old nuclear weapons, unconfirmed reports in Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper indicate. The tests, which would take place in Novaya Zemlya's underground tunnel complex, are necessary in order to inspect Russia's aging stockpiles of nuclear weapons - the world's largest - the source, identified by the paper as working with Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said. Sergei Novikov, an official spokesman for the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, would not comment on Nezavisimaya Gazeta's report when reached by telephone. Bellona


Coast Guard Cutter Sails With Aviation Detachment. It takes a great amount of teamwork to complete Coast Guard missions.  Forward deployed assets like the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, a national security cutter, cooperate with other Coast Guard units while underway to execute the Coast Guard's 11 statutory missions.  One type of unit that supports the ship is the onboard aviation detachment. Bertholf often sails with a deployed Coast Guard helicopter and crew, called the aviation detachment. The AVDET is under the direction of the senior pilot, an aircraft commander. The helicopters, most often MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, are used to augment or extend the range and capabilities of Bertholf's sensors. The helicopter crews can operate covertly in total darkness, closely monitoring suspect vessels on the water or as long range reconnaissance to detect things like the ice. 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


Debate on Arctic Challenges Set for Brussels, October 4-5, 2012.The challenges facing the Arctic during a time of change and global warming uncertainty will be the subject of frank and lively debate between policymakers, Ambassadors from European Union and Arctic nations, polar scientists, and representatives industry and Arctic indigenous peoples groups, at the 2012 Arctic Futures Symposium, taking place in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. High-level speakers include Prince Albert II of Monaco, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders, and Charles Emmerson, Chatham House Senior Research Fellow on Energy, Environment and Resources, and author of The Future History of the Arctic.  Guest speakers will also include Sweden's Arctic Ambassador Gustav Lind, Greenland's Deputy Foreign Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor to Shell's Arctic programme, Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Prof. David Vaughan and Lars-Anders Baer, chair of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, October 9-10, 2012. CAFF will hold a meeting in Anadyr, Russia.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World; October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature.  


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. 


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.

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