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October 4, 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.


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.


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. 




thiniceArctic Sea Ice Shatters Previous Low Records; Antarctic Sea Ice Edges to Record High. This September, sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean fell to the lowest extent in the satellite record, which began in 1979. Satellite data analyzed by NSIDC scientists showed that the sea ice cover reached its lowest extent on September 16. Sea ice extent averaged for the month of September was also the lowest in the satellite record. Science Daily


Russia Canada FlagsCanada-Russia Ties Warm in Arctic: Rescue helps to smooth waters. About 20 Russian scientists on a floating research station that drifted to less than 100 kilometres from islands in Canada's Arctic archipelago were retrieved last month by a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker, according to Russians familiar with the mission. "NP 39 (the station) spent more than three months in the Canadian (sovereign economic) zone," before the scientists were taken off the platform, Alexander Danilov, deputy director of Russia's Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Research, said about Russian projects in the High Arctic, where there are overlapping territorial claims by Russia, Canada, Denmark (for Greenland) and the United States. Windsor Star


Canadian Company Pitches $600M Fiber Optic Cable Project: Project would also cut transmission time between Asia and Europe. An Ontario company has applied for permits that would allow a fiber optic cable through the Northwest Passage to bring vastly improved data service to much of the North. Arctic Fiber has asked Industry Canada for submarine cable landing licenses that would serve seven communities in Nunavut and just over half the territory's population. The plans are part of a $600-million proposal to stretch a cable from Japan through to Newfoundland, where it would connect to the northeastern United States. CBC News


Russian Arctic Ocean Patrol: Mission complete. Two Tupolev TU-95 MS have practiced featureless terrain navigation and mid-air refueling. The official stated that the patrol fully conformed to the international air traffic regulations over international waters and didn't violate other countries' borders. Voice of Russia


EU Calls Global Attention to Arctic. While national policies drive arctic decision-making, more shipping and energy development there requires global attention, an EU leader said from Brussels. Warmer temperatures are leaving parts of the arctic ice-free for longer periods during the year. This has exposed vast unexplored areas through to hold oil and natural gas reserves and is opening shipping lanes north of Russia. Maria Damanaki, European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, speaking at an EU conference on arctic policy, said oil and natural gas reserves in the arctic could help meet the world's appetite for energy resources. UPI


arcticcouncilAnalysis: The Arctic Council, lead sled dog of the High North. A 16-year-old squadron of eight nations in a brand new, minuscule headquarters in a remote city well north of the Arctic Circle is becoming an exemplar of how groups of countries can relate and interrelate over issues of territory, security and resources. The Arctic Council comprised of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the US was established in 1996 and, to date, has been populated more by scientists and scholars than by statesmen. Now like a very good dog sled leader, the Council is breaking new trails for the Arctic and the High North. The representative countries operate by consensus regarding the primary opportunities and pitfalls of the harsh-weathered circumpolar Arctic, its resources, and its inhabitants. Global Post


US Far Behind in Race for Arctic Assets. There is a battle at the top of the world for oil and minerals, and many observers of this competition in the Arctic believe the United States is lagging far behind. "In some ways, we're not even in the race," said Alaska's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell.  "If we're not there, it is up to the Russians and the Canadians to set the rules. If we're not more aggressive in the Arctic, we're missing the boat," he added in an interview with Global Post. At stake are what economists predict could be trillions of dollars in profit in the coming decades, not only for the oil companies but also in the form of revenue for the state and the small villages and towns of native populations that stand to benefit. And, as Treadwell points out, there lots of jobs in Alaska and elsewhere that come with those profits as well. Global Post


Norway: "EU Has No Jurisdiction in the Arctic." Oslo brushes aside the European Parliament's Environmental Committee's vote to enter a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling. Petroleum Minister Ola Borten Moe sees no reason to stop now, pointing to the fact that "Norway's boundaries end almost right up at the North Pole."Deputy Oil and Energy Minister Per Rune Henriksen says to the newswire NTB: " The EU has no jurisdiction in the Arctic, no member country has a Continental Shelf in the Arctic." In another interview on the issue with Nationen, quoted by the Foreigner, the Deputy Minister says: "The EU is free to argue what it wants, but this would almost be like us commenting on a camel operations in the Sahara, which we do not have anything to do with." Oil and Gas Eurasia


Seal Brendan KellyArctic Alaska: Scientists Seeing Fewer Sick Seals, Walrus, Polar Bears. The mysteries behind what made Alaska seals and walrus sick last year and caused bald spots on polar bears this spring largely remain unanswered. For all of its advances, science isn't a silver bullet in this human quest for knowledge. Hunters in Alaska's Arctic want assurances that the animals they harvest are safe to handle and eat. And they are not alone. The collective stewards of Alaska marine life -- hunters, state and federal managers, academics and researchers -- want to know why the animals got sick. The illness struck seals in 2011, causing hair loss, oozing lesions, lethargy, organ problems and, in some cases, death. It showed up in high enough numbers across Alaska's Arctic coastline that that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared it an UME, or "Unusual Mortality Event" late last year. Alaska Dispatch


Pentagon Study Cites Climate Change as National Security Threat. Even before recent predictions that Arctic sea ice would melt by the summer of 2016 in a "final collapse," setting off a "global disaster," the Pentagon and the Center for Naval Analyses's (CNA) Military Advisory Board had already gone on record warning about the impacts of climate change as a threat to national security. To better understand the impact of global water challenges on U.S. national security interests, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested the intelligence community to produce a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which resulted in an unclassified Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Huffington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


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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