Arctic Update Header
 February 14, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate resumes consideration the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary. The House takes up a resolution concerning federal pay.


Happy Valentine's Day!


russian flagRussian Navy Warplanes Start Arctic Patrols. Russian Northern Fleet aircraft have started patrolling the Arctic Ocean on a regular basis, Defense Ministry spokesman Capt. First Rank Vadim Serga said on Thursday. "So far this week, Northern Fleet aircrews have made three flights to the Arctic region," he said. Two flights were made by an Ilyushin Il-38 May maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and one by a Tupolev Tu-142 Bear maritime reconnaissance and ASW aircraft, he said. RIA Novosti
Russia Signs Deal for Stake in Alaska's Point Thomson Field. Russia's state-owned oil company is poised to play a major role in developing America's Arctic natural gas under a new agreement to give the company a stake in a huge Alaskan project.The agreement with Exxon Mobil gives the Russian oil giant Rosneft the option to buy a 25 percent interest in the Point Thomson field, which is estimated to contain about a fourth of the massive storehouse of recoverable natural gas on Alaska's North Slope. "Participation in the Point Thomson project will increase Rosneft's access to the latest gas and condensate field development technologies used in harsh climatic conditions," Rosneft President Igor Sechin said in a statement after signing the deal. Anchorage Daily News
 ScienceScientists Calls New Confidentiality Rules on Arctic Project 'Chilling.' A bid by the federal government to impose sweeping confidentiality rules on an Arctic science project has run into serious resistance in the United States. "I'm not signing it," said Andreas Muenchow, of the University of Delaware, who has taken issue with the wording that Canada's Fisheries and Oceans department has proposed for the Canada-U.S. project. It's an affront to academic freedom and a "potential muzzle," said Muenchow, who has been collaborating with DFO scientists on the project in the Eastern Arctic since 2003. Regina Leader-Post  


Boxer to Pursue Climate Change Legislation Despite GOP Opposition. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer said she intends to move climate legislation through the panel, responding to the president's call for Congress to act despite an assured lack of GOP support. "It's not going to be pretty," the California Democrat said Wednesday. "It is going to make making sausage look pretty." Congressional Quarterly


Alaska Bering Sea Snow Crab Season Shaping Up as Less Icy. After a 2012 Bering Sea snow crab season that saw unusually severe sea ice inhibit fishermen's efforts to catch almost 89 million pounds of the shellfish, 2013 is shaping up to be much friendlier. According to Kathleen Cole, a forecaster with the National Weather Service ice desk, this winter was unlikely to match 2012, even before it began. Despite some recent rumors of encroaching ice into the Bering Sea fishery, the situation is better than last year, she said. Alaska Dispatch


arcticcouncilArctic Council Impressed by Russia's Cleanup Program. About 8,000 tons of scrap metal and other waste has been collected on the Franz Josef archipelago and Alexandra Land as part of the cleanup. The Russian delegation invited its foreign colleagues to participate in the next such expedition. Voice of Russia


NASA Scientists Part of Arctic Sea Ice Study. New research using combined records of ice measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite, airborne surveys and ocean-based sensors shows Arctic sea ice volume declined 36 percent in the autumn and 9 percent in the winter over the last decade. The work builds on previous studies using submarine and NASA satellite data and confirms computer model estimates that showed ice volume decreases over the last decade, and builds a foundation for a multi-decadal record of sea ice volume changes. In a report published online recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a large international collaboration of scientists outlined their work to calculate Arctic sea ice volume. The satellite measurements were verified using data from NASA's Operation IceBridge, ocean-based sensors and a European airborne science expedition. This was compared with the earlier sea ice volume record from NASA's ICESat, which reached the end of its lifespan in 2009. Science Codex


Begich Continues to Gain Clout in Senate, Receives New Chairmanship. Continuing to earn seniority in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mark Begich today was appointed both chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Intergovernmental Affairs and reconfirmed as chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard. As chairman of two subcommittees, Begich will have substantial and unique authority to oversee critical Alaska issues such as fisheries, coastal management, the Coast Guard, emergency management and disaster relief. Senator Mark Begich


NOAABamford Named New Assistant Administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service. Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D., has been named the new assistant NOAA administrator for the agency's National Ocean Service, succeeding David M. Kennedy who was named the new NOAA deputy under secretary for operations. Prior to her appointment, Bamford served as deputy assistant administrator for NOS. "Holly not only brings strong scientific credentials to this position, but she also has significant leadership and management expertise. She is particularly well qualified for this position and I'm confident in her ability to lead NOS as it works to support healthy communities and economies," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. NOAA


Louis W. Uccellini Selected as Next Director of NOAA's National Weather Service. Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., will become the next assistant NOAA administrator for weather services beginning February 10 and the 16th director of NOAA's National Weather Service, which marks its 143rd anniversary this Saturday. "Louis' leadership within the National Weather Service and his relationship with the U.S. and international weather enterprise allow him to effectively steer the agency forward," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. NOAA


Murkowski Keeps Top Republican Position on Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced that she is retaining her Ranking Member status on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee - where she will have a critical seat at the negotiating table to set the funding priorities for an enormous range of Alaskan-related policy areas.  In her position of Ranking Member, she will work directly with both Senate and House Chairmen, as well as the Administration to craft each year's final bill. Senator Lisa Murkowski  

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. 

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