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August 9, 2013
The House of Representatives and the Senate remain on August recess.


August 2013 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Science Notes. The August BOEM Science Notes issue takes a closer look at a research project focused on the biological oasis that is the Hanna Shoal ecosystem in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska. The expedition continues through August 15 upon the USCG Cutter Healy. "The excursion is the latest in the five year BOEM study, one of more than 60 ongoing environmental 

studies associated with anticipating, avoiding or limiting potential impacts from oil and gas exploration and development in the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf."

Full Science Notes ReleaseChukchi Sea Ecosystem Study Blog & BOEM Environmental Studies Program 


The Thawing Geopolitics of the Arctic. "The frozen, barren ice caps of the Arctic inspire both awe for and fear of the natural world. While man has subdued and achieved mastery over most environments, the Arctic has remained virtually undisturbed both physically and politically. Aside from its role as a militarily strategic vantage point during the Cold War, the Arctic Circle has been nonexistent on the political stage. In fact, with limited exploration, little to no business ventures and an indigenous population numbering over 350,000, the Arctic area has something of a pristine aura to it (perhaps ironically, considering limited habitability, little to no greenery and temperatures that can drop below -50 degrees F). But this last stronghold of nature that has more or less gone untouched by the entrepreneurial world is about to broached. Global Warming is coming, and the White Walkers of capitalism are creeping in." Emory Journal of International Affairs


Norwegian government study raises investment risk fears over Arctic drilling. "The development of oil and gas fields in the Arctic is unlikely to prove compatible with global efforts to tackle climate change, according to the latest major report to raise concerns over the formation of a 'carbon bubble'. The study, commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and undertaken by consultancy Rystad Energy, assessed the risk of the country's oil and gas industry being left with stranded assets as governments attempt to meet the global goal of restricting average temperature increases to 2C." Business Green & Petroleum Production Under the Two Degree Scenario 


Arctic ice melting rapidly, but some 'signs' are false alarms. "Recently, a webcam reportedly stationed on a buoy near the North Pole in the high Arctic caught an unusual snapshot of life there: a standing pool of water, about a foot to two feet deep, isolated in the midst of the permanent ice found in one of the world's most northerly climes." Alaska Dispatch


The right hand of Arctic exploration. "Matthew Henson was the right hand man for America's explorer Robert E. Peary, and his stories lend detail to the history of Arctic exploration. And those stories are all the richer for the subsequent shabby treatment that he received from Peary." The Pilot


The changing Arctic: how involved should NATO be? "A global challenge requires a global approach. And the melting of the Arctic ice is certainly an issue whose effects will be felt around the world. But how much is this a NATO issue? What role could - or should - the Alliance play? NATO Review interviews the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide, to see why he invited NATO to take a closer look at the issue." NATO Video


Smokin' Pole - The Quest for Arctic Riches: North Pole Lake. Stephen Colbert humorously discusses this summer's much publicized North Pole lake: "The melting Arctic icecap is just an isolated incident that's occurred every summer since 2003, so there's no reason to panic." Colbert Report


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No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday. 

Future Events


"Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops are held as part of the Week of the Arctic, varied in form to reach different audiences and achieve multiple goals. The Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award dinner is the signature event for the Week of the Arctic. In recent years, the Award has been given to Red Dog Mine (2012) and Jacob Adams (2011). The award was created in 2000 to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions toward sustainable development in the Arctic. Join us as we present CH2M Hill this year's Award. The Week of the Arctic culminates on Sunday, August 18 with a champagne toast in celebration of the Governor Walter J. Hickel Day of the Arctic."


**New this Week**
Arctic Drilling Safety Preparedness and Response: Mitigating Risks in a Tempestuous Environment to Achieve the Rewards of Safely Expanded E&P, August 15-16, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "The harsh and unpredictable climate of the Arctic territories has done little to deter the interest in oil and gas exploration. Particularly since it has been reported, "the U.S. Geological Survey estimates 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist below Arctic waters." While the risks are considerable, so is the reward. As a result, there has been a great surge in development plans and permit requests. However, in order to responsibly drill and extract these resources, oil and gas companies must have thorough safety plans in place, while fostering an environmentally conscious approach to operations. This premier marcus evans conference will carefully examine how to assess risks, develop thorough safety plans and culture, quell environmental opposition through accountable actions, prepare a successful response plan and overcome lack of logistical support."
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(Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska).  The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting's draft agenda is now available here.


You can also view the 101st Commission Meeting announcement in this entry at the Federal Register.




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."


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 inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; 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: 


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." 


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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