Arctic Update Header
 February 20, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Both chambers are in a week-long recess for Presidents Day and will be back in session Feb. 25. 


Working Together to Understand and Predict Arctic Change. Today, the Administration's National Science and Technology Council released a  five-year Arctic Research Plan that outlines key areas of study the Federal government will undertake to better understand and predict environmental changes in the Arctic. The Plan was developed by a team of experts representing 14 federal agencies, based on input from collaborators including the Alaska Governor's Office, indigenous Arctic communities, local organizations, and universities. Seven research areas are highlighted in the Plan as both important to the development of national policies and well-poised to benefit from interagency collaboration, including among them: regional climate models, human health studies, and adaptation tools for communities. White House

The Report


This is significant.... This is probably the first, truly integrated, 5-yr US Arctic Research Program plan (ever?) released. The plan is called for in Sec. 109 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act. Congrats to all involved. ...and now back to implementation... 

Tugs Collide While Maneuvering Around Kulluk. Two tugboats maneuvering around Royal Dutch Shell's oil drilling rig, the Kulluk, collided Friday afternoon, but the damage was minimal, the Coast Guard said Tuesday. The Corbin Foss, one of Seattle-based Foss Maritimes' tugboats, hit the port side of the Ocean Wave, a Crowley Marine Services tug, around 5:30 p.m. Friday in Killiuida Bay on the eastern side of Kodiak Island, where the Kulluk is anchored while awaiting Coast Guard approval to leave, said Petty Officer David Mosley. Anchorage Daily News


begichBegich Receives Highest Civilian Award From US Navy.U.S. Sen. Mark Begich received this week the United States Navy's highest civilian award for outstanding service and work on behalf of the U.S. Navy. The award recognizes Begich for his critical work on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Budget Committee as well as his support for the Navy's Arctic Climate Change Task Force. The Task force ensured that combat forces were prepped for changes in the Arctic environment. Senator Mark Begich


Large Herbivores are Arctic Plants Defense Against Climate Change. In a ten year study unlike any previous analysis, Eric Post, a Penn State University professor of biology, has determined that the best hope for Arctic plant diversity to survive the ongoing increases in temperature are large herbivores. The research was published in the Feb. 20, 2013, issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Unlike previous climate studies, Post included the contribution of large herbivores like caribou and musk ox to the mix of factors that may determine if plant diversity can persist in the Arctic in the ages of global warming that promise as much as a three degree Celsius increase in Arctic temperature. Examiner


Ultra-Athletic Iditarod Dogs Helping Save Soldiers' Lives in Afghanistan. For years, researchers have worked to decode the mysteries of how dogs that race 1,000 miles perform so well-and how to help them. Research on the physical stamina and the high-performance metabolism of Iditarod dogs has let to changes in the way the animals are conditioned, cared for, fed and rested. Now, from the wintery research of the northern United States, the iconic dogs of Alaska's Last Great Race are helping keep American soldiers safe in the deserts of Afghanistan. Alaska Dispatch


canadian flag Canada Continues to Eye Airships for Arctic Communities. It's time to rethink the blimp, a Canadian House of Commons committee suggests in a new report. Airships are often associated with the Hindenberg crash of the 1930s, and their development was overtaken by that of the airplane, reducing their use in recent years mostly to props and ad campaigns. But there's room for certain kinds of them to play a new role in Canada, especially when it comes to reaching remote communities in the North, the transportation committee recommended in a recently released report. Alaska Dispatch


russian flagRussia Unveils Arctic Strategy Until 2020. Russia on Wednesday unveiled its Arctic development blueprint, highlighting energy exploration, infrastructure upgrading and national security. The document, signed by President Vladimir Putin, envisages the development of Russia's Arctic zone until 2020 and beyond with an aim to secure the country's interests and national security. Global Times


UN Worried by Arctic Resource Drive. Awareness of the issue of melting arctic sea ice is much higher than the international community's attention to the matter, a U.N. official said from Nairobi. Changing climate patterns means international oil and gas companies are looking to exploit the estimated 30 percent of the world's unrecovered natural gas and 70 percent of the world's undiscovered oil under in arctic waters. UPI  


Arctic Energy Summit Call for Papers. The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit announces a call for papers. Abstracts for paper presentations, session proposals, workshop proposals and poster sessions should be submitted by April 15th, 2013. To be held in Akureyri, Iceland October 8-10, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the Summit will be an interdisciplinary forum for scholars, energy industry officials, scientists, academics, policy makers, energy professionals and community leaders who share an interest in - and concern for - sustainable development of the Arctic and its energy resources. For more information, visit the website.

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.


Private Sector Transportation Infrastructure and Assets: Response Capacity and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


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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