Arctic Update Header
August 30, 2013



Alaska earthquake strikes near Aleutian Islands, close To Adak. A major earthquake was reported off the coast of Alaska on Friday, August 30th at 4:25 p.m. UTC. The quake took place about 57 miles from Adak, a city located in the Aleutians West Census Area. The USGS placed the earthquake in the highest intensity category, reporting a preliminary magnitude of 7.0. According to NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a "destructive Pacific-wide tsunami" is not expected. Huffington Post 


United States Geological Survey Report 



The House of Representatives and the Senate remain in recess through next week, until September 9. 



Unalaskans Question Funding for Arctic Research. "A lot more scientific research is needed if the United States wants to beef up its presence in the Arctic. The U.S. Arctic Research Commission met in Unalaska this week to figure out what work takes priority. But as KUCB's Lauren Rosenthal reports, locals were mostly concerned with how the government plans to pay for it all." KUCB 


Fish and Wildlife Service

Polar bears in the Chukchi Sea doing well, despite sea ice loss. "Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to polar bears. On May 15, 2008, 

the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed the bear as threatened throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act. If loss of sea ice habitat continues, most populations of this iconic species are expected to decline or disappear by the end of the 21st century. But the path to that point might not be straightforward according to Eric V. Regehr of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In fact says Regehr, scientists expect a lot of variation in when, where, and how the effects of sea ice loss will appear. According to a new study, by some measures one of the Arctic's nineteen polar bear populations is doing quite well." SitNews 


Why aren't all data centres in the Arctic Circle? "It's increasingly fashionable to build your data centre somewhere cold and remote, where cooling is free and renewable energy flows thick and fast from water or wind power. Iceland is a particularly popular destination right now, with the likes of Colt and BMW shipping out to its chilly climes. But if it's so great, why isn't everybody doing it?" Computing 


Properly managing riches in the Arctic. "An unprecedented warming of the Arctic region is underway. According to a study by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the region is set to become ice-free by 2070. Yet more recent studies and satellite imagery have moved that date to anywhere between 2020 to 2035. Whatever the case, the region, which had until recently been considered impassable, is now set to become a playground for exploration of natural resources ranging from oil to gas." The Nation 


Arctic internet cable project moves closer to approval. "A fibre optic company is one step closer to installing 15,000-kilometre cable across the arctic that has the potential to bring ultrahigh-speed Internet to the region. Arctic Fibre just finished consulting with seven Nunavut communities where the cable will be closest to once installed. The cable will be embedded in the arctic ocean floor and connect Europe with Asia." CBC News 


Polar Code concept ready next year."Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said on the conclusion of his 5-day visit along the eastern sector of the Northern Sea Route aboard the Russian icebreaker '50 Let Pobedy' that the Polar Code would be introduced by IMO in 2014, reports Arctic-Info." Marine Link 


Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Fire Service

Alaska tundra shows surprising resilience after unprecedented fire. "Despite the size and severity of the massive 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire on 

Alaska's North Slope, much of the arctic vegetation has recovered and the tundra is likely to return to its pre-fire condition according to University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist Syndonia 'Donie' Bret-Harte and colleagues in a recent scientific paper." EurekAlert (University of Alaska Fairbanks) 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events

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 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 Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, 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: 


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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