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December 13, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House is in recess until December 16th.  The Senate will continue to consider a number of nominations.




defense spending House Caps Year With $607B Defense Bill. In its last roll-call vote of the year, the House on Thursday easily passed a $607 billion defense bill from House and Senate negotiators. Members voted 350-69 for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending it to the Senate to consider next week. The "no" votes came from 19 Republicans and 50 Democrats. The Hill


Passed in House, NDAA Now Heads to Senate. The House on Thursday approved a compromise version of this year's defense authorization bill, kicking it to the Senate under a fast-track process that precludes senators from tacking on controversial amendments dealing with Iran sanctions and other divisive issues. The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. It will need some Republican support to get the 60 votes required to advance. Politico


harry reid Senators Prep for More All-Nighters. The Senate this week is a bit like a university, albeit one filled with sexagenarians and septuagenarians. With Democrats insisting on plowing ahead on nominations and Republicans refusing to yield back debate time to allow speedy confirmations, the Senate is headed into its second straight all-nighter as Democrats push to confirm as many of President Barack Obama's nominees as they can. Politico


Long-Term Warming and Environmental Change Trends Persist in the Arctic in 2013. According to a new report released today by NOAA and its partners, cooler temperatures in the summer of 2013 across the central Arctic Ocean, Greenland and northern Canada moderated the record sea ice loss and extensive melting that the surface of the Greenland ice sheet experienced last year. Yet there continued to be regional extremes, including record low May snow cover in Eurasia and record high summer temperatures in Alaska. "The Arctic caught a bit of a break in 2013 from the recent string of record-breaking warmth and ice melt of the last decade," said David M. Kennedy, NOAA's deputy under secretary for operations, during a press briefing today at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco. NOAA


Presidential Adviser Pete Rouse Maintains Alaska Roots. One of President Obama's closest advisers is leaving. Pete Rouse has been at Obama's side since his first days in the Senate and at the White House, serving at times as chief of staff. But Rouse shuns the spotlight, so few people know of his Alaska roots, or the pull he's had on the 49th state. APRN


Faroes Push to End Fish Feud. Following an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement on fishery allocations earlier in the week, the Faroe Islands are engaging in increased consultations to push for an agreement before the end of the year. The five coastal parties to the Atlanto-Scandian herring agreement, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the EU, met in London on Tuesday and after failing to reach an agreement confirmed they would continue negotiations in January 2014. Arctic Journal


russian flag Russia Modernizing Arctic Airports, Port Facilities, Says Official. Russia has been modernizing several Arctic airports and port facilities on Novaya Zemlya archipelago, a senior Russian military official said Friday. "To protect our strategic interests, further development of the airfield network and port infrastructure (in the Arctic) has been envisaged," chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Col. Gen. Valery Gerasimov told a meeting with 90 foreign military attaches. Xinhua


Why Canada's Race to Claim the North Pole Could Backfire. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's push to control the North Pole may be good holiday season politics, but it risks stalling an already glacially slow effort to draw Canada's Arctic borders. His government filed a partial claim with the United Nations Monday that details how far it thinks Canada's jurisdiction stretches off the Atlantic Coast, while signaling it will make a pitch for the North Pole in a later submission on Arctic boundaries. The Star

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Yesterday, the House passed legislation to authorize funding for defense programs. The Senate version of the bill includes an amendment to fund icebreakers. 

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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