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December 6, 2013







capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House will consider several non-Arctic issues.  The Senate is in recess until December 9th.



Avian Cholera, Found in Alaska for First Time, Caused Seabird Die-Off. Hundreds of seabirds that washed up dead on a Bering Sea island perished from avian cholera, a highly contagious and fast-killing waterfowl infection that had never been detected in Alaska before, according to state wildlife officials. Strains of the bacterial disease generally do not pose a health risk for people, said Kimberlee Beckmen, a veterinarian at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. But residents of St. Lawrence Island, where the birds were found last month, should take care not to eat sick animals. People also should not handle the birds if they have cuts on their hands. Alaska Dispatch


caribou Tight Supplies Strain Finnish Reindeer-Meat Market. The volume of reindeer meat produced in Finland is declining. Finnish reindeer producers had to turn down a German order for the meat from 100,000 animals this autumn because there were not that many to be slaughtered in the country. Recently, orders have come also come in from France and Spain, but to date, all Finnish production has gone into meeting demand in the home market. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Resources Claim Deadline Today for Canada. Today is the deadline for Canada to file scientific evidence to justify its claim to Arctic resources beyond its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. The federal government is being cagey about the submission that it is supposed to file within 10 years of signing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international treaty setting out maritime rules. "It's being a really closely held secret. The big thing that everyone is wondering about is how far up the Lomonosov Ridge we're [Canada] actually going to go," says University of Calgary professor and Arctic expert Rob Huebert. CBC News


Spend Money on Needed Arctic Icebreakers to Assert US Interests [Editorial]. Epic changes in the Arctic climate and landscape are seemingly unstoppable. Environmentalists concerned about what comes next should rally support for new U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers. That might sound like quirky advice, but global excitement about a coveted maritime passage reinforces the need for a vigilant U.S. presence. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, has renewed efforts, along with Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, to point Congress toward spending money on four heavy polar icebreakers. At more than $850 million apiece, this proposal will take some patient politicking. Seattle Times


Experiment is First to Simulate Warming of Arctic Permafrost. Although vegetation growth in the Arctic is boosted by global warming, it's not enough to offset the carbon released by the thawing of the permafrost beneath the surface, University of Florida researchers have found in the first experiment in the Arctic environment to simulate thawing of permafrost in a warming world. Twice as much carbon is frozen in Arctic permafrost as exists in the atmosphere today, and what happens to it as it thaws -- releasing greenhouse gases that fuel climate change -- is a key question, said professor Ted Schuur, who heads the Permafrost Carbon Network and the Ecosystem Dynamics Research Laboratory in the UF department of biology. Science Daily


Russia Canada Flags Canada, Russia on Collision Course Over North Pole: Denmark Also Claims Resource-Rich Maritime Prize. Canada is expected to apply to the United Nations on Friday to expand its Arctic sea boundary with an eye to claiming the North Pole, setting it on a collision course with Russia and Denmark. The already large claim, which according to a recent news report may eventually expand to include the pole, is expected to anger Moscow and Copenhagen, which also have their eyes on the region. Canada has spent much of the last decade surveying the seabed in the far north and gathering evidence in support of its planned submission to the global body. Japan Times


BOEM Reviews Lease Sale Comments. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management received comments this week on the proposed 2016 lease sale for the Chukchi Sea. Unlike lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, new Arctic lease sales are targeted - certain areas may not be up for auction. This new approach, which was laid out in 2012, got mixed reactions from both industry and conservation groups. In a conference room filled with binders of data and shelves of books, the Audubon Society's science director, Melanie Smith, flips through a 125-page document. APRN

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on yesterday.

Future Events


Alaska Policy Commission Meeting, December 9-10, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will convene to continue working on their draft of Alaska's Arctic Policy. This Preliminary Report will be submitted to the State Legislature on January 30, 2014 and will help guide the Commission's work in 2014 as they prepare to submit a final Report in January 2015. At the Anchorage meeting Commissioners will review and discuss draft Arctic policy statements, specific preliminary recommendations, and the supporting background document. See for a draft agenda and additional information as it becomes available.


Public testimony will be accepted Monday, Dec 9 from 11:15a-12:30p, limited to 3min. Supplementary written testimony can be emailed to

Meeting will be audio streamed live on


American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13 (San  Francisco, CA). The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the AGU logo geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to exchange information and broaden their knowledge base. In addition to the scientific programming, the meeting offers over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, including one on Monday, Dec. 9, titled, "Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) and Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), organized by Helen Wiggins, Brendan Kelly, and Hajo Eicken, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in 2018 Moscone West. 


Search the AGU meeting for Arctic-related research sessions here


** New ** Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


The goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.


Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.


44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014 (Tampa, Florida).  Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11 (Helsinki, Finland). ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


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."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
Abstract Submission Deadline: November 17,  2013

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.

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