Arctic Update Header
 February 13, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate begins debate on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense. The House considers a bill that would clarify that houses of worship are eligible for disaster relief

 Scientists Scramble to Decode Weather Patterns in Warming Arctic. The prospect of more ice-free water during Arctic Ocean summers has triggered efforts to improve ice and weather forecasts at the top of the top of the world. Much of the research into the interplay between the ocean, ice, and atmosphere has centered on global warming and the long-term changes it will impose on the Arctic-including a continued decline in summer sea ice. Researchers are exploring the impact that decline could have on seasonal climate and weather patterns at lower latitudes. Alaska Dispatch 

PRBWho will identify the "Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic?" Today, the Polar Research Board, of the National Research Council (part of National Academy of Sciences) announced the committee membership (below). The study will include a community workshop to be held in Alaska in late spring of 2013, and the Committee's report is expected to be released by spring 2014. Further information about the project, including the study scope and the provisional committee slate, and public comments, can be submitted here.
The committee membership is:
Co-Chair: Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College
Co-Chair: Henry Huntington, Pew Charitable Trusts
Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University
Sven Haakanson, Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository
Robert Hawley, Dartmouth College
David Hik, University of Alberta
Larry Hinzman, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Amanda Lynch, Brown University
Michael Macrander, Shell Alaska
Gifford Miller, University of Colorado, Boulder
Kate Moran, NEPTUNE Canada
Ellen Mosley-Thompson, The Ohio State University
Samuel Mukasa, University of New Hampshire
Thomas Weingartner, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

More information about the committee members can be found here:

White Spruce May Thrive as Temperatures Warm Across Subarctic Alaska.
Through the US Department of Agriculture has recently warned of big changes in store for the nation's forests because of global warming, a trio of National Park Service scientists who've completed an exhaustive examination of forests in Denali National Park and Preserve report no evidence of such changes coming to Interior Alaska anytime soon. The peer-reviewed study was just published in "Ecological Monographs," the journal of Ecological Society of America. In the study, lead researchers Carl Roland and his colleagues note that "recent studies suggest climate warming to Interior Alaska may result in major shifts from spruce-dominated forests to broad-leaf dominated forests," but then go on to report their 10 years of study of the vegetation spread across a nearly 5,000-square-mile swath of Denali found no evidence to support that theory. Alaska Dispatch 
Salmon"Salmon Signature" Used to Study Historic Alaska Fish Returns. Alaska fisherman are no strangers to the roller coaster flux of salmon returning to home spawning grounds. Most fisherman have experienced or at least witnessed both banner years and disaster years, riding out the consequences of a life lived according to marine resources. Modern biologists have come to recognize these strong and weak variances as cycles that span not years but decades. Now, studies coming out of the University of Washington (UW) are indicating recognizable cycles that cross hundreds of years in their rotation. Alaska Dispatch UN Official Urges Wage Increase to Ease Food Cost Burden in Canadian Arctic. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food toured the country in May, and his report was just released. Oliver De Schutter says he's "disconcerted by the deep and severe food insecurity" facing Inuit and aboriginal people in Canada. De Schutter says the minimum wage needs to be increased so people can afford to buy food, and the housing system needs improvement so that poor families do not have to sacrifice food to pay rent. Alaska Dispatch 

Researchers to Study Wintertime Ocean in High Arctic. Ocean researchers are working to find out what goes on underneath the thick layers of Arctic sea ice during the winter. Little is known about frigid Arctic waters during winter months. For 10 days in -40 C temperatures, the Canadian Rangers Ocean Watch program will be testing the waters and studying how river water flow feeds in the high Arctic ecosystem. It's a joint effort between the Departments of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans, the Vancouver Aquarium and the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. CBC News


Harper [Opinion] Harper Government Ignoring Northern Needs: Bevington. The MP for the Western Arctic said the Harper Government refuses to listen to Northerners as it tables legislation dealing with the North. Dennis Bevington referred to Bill C-47 which deals with land rights in the NWT and Bill C-45 which sparked all the Idle No More protests. Bevington said groups like the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines and Alternatives North have proposed amendments to Bill C-47. HQ Yellowknife


Federal Agency Rejects Petition to List Alaska Cold-Water Corals as Threatened. A federal agency has rejected a petition seeking to list 44 cold water corals off Alaska as threatened or endangered. An environmental group says the corals are threatened by commercial fishing, ocean warming, acidification and oil spills. But the National Marine Fisheries Service says the petition submitted in August by the Center for Biological Diversity didn't present enough information to make the case that a listing may be warranted. Anchorage Daily News 
Attorney: Native Fisherman Should Get First Go at King Salmon. An attorney for Alaska Natives cited for illegal fishing is renewing his religious protection defense, saying the state could conserve king salmon runs on the Kuskokwim River while granting Yup'ik Eskimos a subsistence fishing priority to accommodate their long-held spiritual views. James J. Davis Jr. says in a court brief that Yup'ik people believe animals have "yua" - or spirits - offered to worthy hunters. He says fishing bans could cause a scarcity of kings. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.


Environmental Protection in the Arctic, March 1, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska. The Canadian Consulate General in Seattle will host a discussion of environmental protection issues with David Hik, President, International Arctic Science Committee, University of Alberta; Fran Ulmer, Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission; and Lilian Alessa, Director, NSF Alaska EPSCoR Program.  The event will be held at Rusmuson Hall 101, the University of Alaska Anchorage campus at 5pm. Email to RSVP.


Tufts Energy Conference, March 2-3, 2013, Medford, MA.Availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability: these "Four As" are at the core of global energy security. As energy demands increase around the world, the global community must balance the "Four As" while keeping up with need. Thanks to major innovations in extraction technologies, fossil fuels remain an available and affordable global asset. Yet climate change, geopolitical risk, and environmental impacts are changing the energy debate and challenging the acceptability of fossil fuels. In the short term, emerging green technologies often lack accessibility, availability, and affordability. TEC 2013 will explore how both developing and developed countries are working to meet their energy needs, manage geopolitical risk, and ensure energy security. Through six diverse but interconnected panels, TEC 2013 will address a number of pressing questions.


The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots). 


The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. 


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association. 

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)