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December 23, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House and Senate have adjourned for the year.   




Five Myths About the North Pole. Forget Santa Claus's ethnicity - what's his nationality? Canada's recent announcement that it may try to extend its territory to include the North Pole has led to a debate over who owns this Arctic area, about 1.3 times the size of the United States. [The Washington Post] considers some of the biggest misconceptions about the North Pole and how its landscape is changing. The Washington Post


Mercury Levels in Arctic Fish Lower Than Once Thought, Study Shows. Most environmental news these days is bad news but a new study on the mercury levels in fish has offered some hope. Researchers at Virginia Tech found that mercury in continental Arctic fish have lower levels of the toxic substance than once thought. The multinational group of scientists analyzed burbot fish in the Lena and the Mezen, two rivers in the north of Russia. Global Post


Danish Navy to Build New Arctic Ship. Denmark has become the latest Arctic power to announce that it will be adding to its military hardware in the increasingly contested region. The Royal Danish Navy announced last week that it had selected a contractor to build the third of three planned Arctic-class vessels used to support research efforts, participate in search and rescue and enforce territorial sovereignty. Arctic Journal


Rovaniemi, Finland to Host Forestry Conference. Some 150 participants from around Europe are expected to visit the Lapland town for the three-day event. Director of Finnish forestry organization Metsähallitus, Jyrki Kangas, proposed the Lappish location at the European State Forest Association Eustafor's board meeting on Wednesday. Kangas is Vice Chairperson of the Association. Alaska Dispatch


BSEE Solicitation Released: Proposed Research on Oil Spill Response Operations in the U.S. OCS. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) solicits White Papers of not more than five (5) pages in length, for specific areas of interest to the BSEE Oil Spill Response Research (OSRR) Program on Oil Spill Response Operations in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). When appropriate, the research shall be conducted consistently with prior research. For a summary of research previously completed and recently performed, visit Interested parties are encouraged to view the information presented on the site when considering submitting white papers. FedBizOps


Arctic Inspiration Prize, 2013 Laureates Announced. The second annual Arctic Inspiration Prize ceremony was held in Halifax, NS on 11 December 2013. The $1 million award was shared amongst three Canadian teams whose projects address pressing issues facing Canada's Arctic and its Peoples: Ikaarvik: From Barriers to Bridges, The National Strategy on Inuit Education - National Parent Mobilization Initiative, and SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik: Healthy homes in thriving Nunatsiavut communities. Arctic Inspiration Prize


[On the Lighter Side] Message in a Bottle Found 54 Years Later in Canadian Arctic. When you're lucky enough to stumble upon a message in a bottle, chances are it was washed up near an ocean, lake or river. According to Halifax's The Chronicle Herald, two researchers found the note tucked into a pile of rocks in the northern Canadian Arctic, about 500 miles away from the closest human settlement. AJC


Elves in Iceland Delay Road Project. Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer. They fear disturbing elf habitat and claim the area is particularly important because it contains an elf church. The project has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on a case brought by a group known as Friends of Lava, who cite both the environmental and the cultural impact -- including the impact on elves -- of the road project. The group has regularly brought hundreds of people out to block the bulldozers. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

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 Technology Conference, February10-12, 2014. (Houston, TX) Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) provides offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. The Arctic Technology Conference (ATC) is built upon OTC's successful multidisciplinary approach, with 14 technical societies and organizations. The conference is an international event focused on continuing innovative technologies and solutions needed for exploration and production of energy within the circum-Arctic.


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."

 Arctic Circle, September 5-7, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural gathering drew more than 1200 participants from 40 nations, bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations for a series of meetings and presentations addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing Arctic. The Assembly established itself as a platform for high-level engagement on issues, such as the meeting between Russia and Greenpeace regarding the "Arctic 30" detention, and it also provided new observer states the opportunity to communicate their Arctic strategies. Details about the 2014 Assembly will be announced in the coming months.


Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, December 2-4, 2014. (Trondheim, Norway)

The Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group is organizing the first Arctic Biodiversity Congress in Trondheim, Norway on December 2-4, 2014. The Arctic Biodiversity Congress will promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity through dialogue among scientists, policy-makers, government officials, industry, civil society and indigenous peoples. It is closely linked to the findings and recommendations of the first Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) released in May 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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