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December 12, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The Senate will consider several nominations.  The House is scheduled to consider legislation to fund government operations for the remainder of 2014.




capital House to Vote on Budget Deal. The House is expected to vote Thursday on a two-year deal that would represent the first bipartisan budget compromise of the new divided-government era. GOP leaders expect their measure will pass, despite complaints from House Democrats that it includes a fix to prevent a cut in doctor payments but does not extend federal unemployment benefits set to expire this month. The Hill


Study Finds Bird Declines in Mountains of Finland, Sweden, Norway. Bird populations in the mountains of Finland, Sweden and Norway are declining, a trend associated with changing weather transforming northern forests, a newly released study says. The study, conducted by scientists in the three countries and published online on Dec. 2 by the Journal of Avian Biology, said nine of 14 common bird species in the Fennoscandia mountain range of northern Europe showed significant declines from 2002 to 2012. "As these declines were synchronous in all three countries and occurred both in tundra and birch forest, one may suspect that they were driven by the same large-scale phenomena," the study says. Alaska Dispatch


Fairbanks Forum Seeks Solutions to Mental Health Failings. There was a steady theme at Wednesday night's forum on Interior mental health issues: The current system is a mess. More than 100 health-care professionals, clients and elected officials packed the Fairbanks North Star Borough assembly chambers, looking for solutions to a system they say is failing one of the area's most vulnerable populations. Overwhelming bureaucracy, inadequate housing and a lack of funding are among the issues that have left many patients without care, speakers said. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Russia Won't Give Away North Pole - Official. Russia will not give the North Pole to countries, which have claimed their rights to it, polar explorer, Federation Council member Artur Chilingarov said. "We will not give the North Pole to anyone. Canada's claims for the North Pole are nothing but an ambition," he said at a Tula meeting dedicated to the Constitution Day on Thursday. Russia Beyond the Headlines


For Fun: Senate Debate: Is Santa Claus an American Citizen? Is Santa Claus an American citizen? That question came up during a hearing Wednesday at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as Sen. Robert Menendez quizzed Bruce Heyman on his nomination to serve as U.S. ambassador to Canada. Washington Times


Frequency of Arctic Cyclones 40 Percent Higher Than Predicted Earlier. Analysts have recorded more ice-dissolving twisters than they were anticipating earlier by 40 percent extra. About 40 percent higher numbers have been observed than analysts formerly suspected it might be. A significant number of the twisters have been disregarded in the past due to their little estimate or brief time. Top News


Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Wraps Up Two Days of Work Session and Public Testimony. The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) wrapped up two days of meetings, work sessions and public testimony in Anchorage at the Dena'ina Center yesterday.  Members focused on policy recommendations and priorities for a preliminary report due to the Legislature on January 30th, 2014.  The recommendations were made in areas such as energy, infrastructure, governance, science and research, fish and wildlife, oil spill response operations, national security and marine transportation. SitNews


Why the Atlantic, Not the Pacific May Dominate the 21st Century. In recent years, much of the foreign policy debate in Washington and European capitals has focused on the rise of China and the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region. Fewer have paid attention to another, perhaps equally important trend: the rise of 'the Atlantic area' as globalization's new center of gravity. At the other end of the Atlantic -- in the 'High North' -- trade and economic resources have already attracted global attention from emerging powers such as China. The Arctic holds huge reserves of undiscovered oil and gas -- not to mention other mineral resources. Moreover, the trans-Arctic shipping routes offer economic and strategic advantages by cutting distances and offering savings in fuel costs. Connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific, Arctic routes will also allow ships to bypass the congested, and sometimes contended, Hormuz and Malacca straits. For China, the northern route between Shanghai and Hamburg is 1,200 miles shorter and 35 percent cheaper than the Suez route. Huffington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events


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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