Arctic Update Header
August 27, 2013

 

 

The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. 

 

Meeting Agenda

  

Arctic Councils test the waters in Unalaska.
"Legislators, scientists, and industry stakeholders are flocking to Unalaska this week to work out a plan for exploring the Arctic and they want input from locals. The United States Arctic Research Commission convened at Unalaska's Grand Aleutian Hotel today. The independent agency is made up of eight commissioners with diverse backgrounds in fisheries, science, and education." 
Alaska Public Media 
Media   

 

EPA chief McCarthy visits Alaska, emphasizes climate change. "As she marveled at the site of a shrinking Alaska glacier, the newly installed leader of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the president told her that fighting climate change should be her primary focus. 'The president's main priority for me was to recognize when I was coming in here that this is going to be a significant challenge and one in which the administration was going to begin to tackle,' said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy." Anchorage Daily News

 

Poll Shows Wide Fears of Pebble Mine. "Hays Research Group asked 388 likely primary voters their opinions of a possible 2014 ballot initiative that would prohibit the Pebble Mine. More than 60% said they favor the measure. Some two-thirds of that group strongly support it." Alaska Public Media 

 

Russian application to extend its national Arctic boundaries. "In 2014, Russia plans to submit an application for extension of the boundaries of the continental Arctic Shelf to the special UN Commission after modifying and reinforcing the application by the results of additional research, reports 'Arctic info'. Citing remarks by Denis Khramov, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, 'Arctic info' says that Russia had already applied for extension of the territories in the Barents, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as in the Central Arctic Ocean. The Commission generally recognized the application as meeting the requirements but requested the Russian Federation to provide an additional proof that the ranges of Lomonosov and Mendeleev, going beyond the boundaries of our official continental shelf, belong to the Mainland." Marine Link 

 

Director Brian Salerno sworn in [as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)]. The BSEE "works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement." Salerno says in a press release: "I look forward to building on the great progress BSEE made under Director Watson, who set a high bar in his two years with the agency. Under his leadership BSEE developed a culture that prioritizes safety above all else and I appreciate the support you have given to the bureau in support of its mission. In the past few years BSEE has also strengthened relationships with its partners, and I look forward to building on those relationships. As we move forward, I hope that we can all remain focused on worker safety and protecting the marine and coastal ecosystems." Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 

 

Is the Arctic the next emerging market? "As the ice recedes in the Arctic, talk of industry entering the region to take advantage of its economic opportunities is on the rise. The territories contain significant natural resources, including conventional hydrocarbons (natural gas, condensate, and oil), metals, fish, high-value minerals such as diamonds and rare earths, and fresh water. If the region's waters become more navigable, viable new trans-Arctic shipping routes between the North Atlantic and Bering Strait could emerge. Even if such routes are available only in the warmer months, they could bring substantial logistics savings over routes through the Suez and Panama Canals, offering cost benefits for industries and consumers, and global environmental benefits from reduced fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. It's no wonder the world's interest in the Arctic is so keen." Strategy + Business 

 

How the Arctic Ocean could transform world trade. "China, the world's largest trading nation, suffers from several strategic weaknesses related to its all-

important shipping routes. The 'Malacca dilemma' results from China's 

dependence on the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia for over 80 percent of its oil imports. This leaves the country's energy supply vulnerable to interruption...China, along with other Asian trading nations, is also looking towards the north for alternate shipping lanes." Al Jazeera 

 

Northern Sea Route: Humming with Activity. "The NSR is humming with activity this year. According to the information on the website of NSRA, 454 vessels have been given permission by the Russian authorities to transit through the route. Of the permissions given an overwhelming are ships with Russian flags (83 percent) and the rest (17 percent ) belonging to various countries including France, UK, China, Poland, Germany, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Liberia, etc. In all 71 applications have been refused on technical grounds." Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses 

 

Russia opens first Arctic search and rescue center. "With increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route comes the need for more onshore safety infrastructure. Russia in 2009 allocated 910 million rubles (app 20.6 million) to construction of ten search and rescue (SAR) centers from Murmansk in the west to Provideniya in the East. All centers are planned to be operational by 2015. The first of the new SAR centers was officially opened in Naryan-Mar on August 20 by Nenets Governor Igor Fyodorov and Deputy Minister of EMERCOM Aleksander Chupriyan." Barents Observer 

 

 

Norway builds new Arctic Coast Guard icebreaker. "'The situation in the north is changing constantly. To meet the new challenges, we must be as well-equipped as possible. Therefore has the Government decided to include to the State Budget the construction of a new helicopter-carrying and ice-strengthened vessel planned to be delivered in 2016,' says Minister of Defense Anne-Grete Strm-Erichsen. The new Coast Guard vessel will be the most expensive ever ordered by Norway. Depending on the offer following the tender, the price tag is estimated to be between 500 million to one billion NOK (62 million to 124 million). The new vessel will replace the 30 years old 'KV Andenes' that have sailed the Norwegian- and Barents Seas." Barents Observer 

 

russian flag "Russia must be prepared for Arctic spills." "Speaking at a conference in Naryan-Mar, governor Fyodorov underlined that 'Russia has to be prepared for the handling of possible emergency situations in the Arctic.' In case of a spill in the Pechora Sea or Kara Sea, oil could spread along vast coastal territories in the region. 'One catastrophe would trigger a watershed of irreversible processes, which would be devastating for the fragile northern nature,' a press release from the regional administration reads." Barents Observer 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

  

No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events

  

Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."

  

7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). "The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workshop on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics."

 

**New this Week**

 

Alaska World Affairs Council: "U.S. Leadership in an Emerging Arctic," 12 p.m. September 10, 

2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). The Alaska World Affairs Council will hold a Tuesday Lunch Program lecture featuring Chair of the US Arctic Research FranUlmerCommission Fran Ulmer and Ambassador David Balton, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

 

RSVP to info@alaskaworldaffairs.org or 276-8038 by Sunday, September 8th.  

 

Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky." 

 

The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (Akureyri, Iceland). "The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal." 

 

The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). "The Arctic Circle, an open assembly for international cooperation on Arctic issues, will hold its first gathering October 12-14, 2013, at the Harpa Reykjavk Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavk, Iceland. This event will facilitate working meetings across issues and organizations and provide a forum for discussions hosted by different international and Arctic institutions. Agenda topics will include emerging topics of interest, such as sea ice melt and extreme weather, security, fisheries and ecosystem management, shipping and transportation infrastructure, Arctic resources and tourism."

  

The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments.  

 

The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: www.whoi.edu/projects/FAMOS 

  

17th Sitka WhaleFest: "Arctic Sea Change: What's Ahead?" October 31 - November 3, 2013, (Sitka, Alaska).
 "Sitka WhaleFest presents a unique science symposium blending local knowledge and scientific inquiry concerning the rich marine environment of our northern oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include symposium lectures, interactive student sessions, marine wildlife cruises with scientists, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, student art show, and a fun run/walk."

 

"The Arctic is changing. This is an indisputable fact. How the people and animals who depend upon the Arctic will adapt to change is an open question. How will narwhals and polar bears cope with less summer ice? Bowhead whales may have their world rocked when humpbacks, fins and other baleen whales begin - they already are - feeding in their backyard. The resource users of the Arctic will need to make adjustments and changes to live in this new world. Who will be the sea winners and sea losers? These are questions we will discuss with the experts who are passionate about the Arctic."
 

Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 

 

Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 

 

"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 

 

Full Conference Agenda 


 

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 

 

For more information about the project please: 

 

 


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland). "The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross-cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic."

 

International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."

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