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 January 31, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The Senate will consider debt limit legislation. The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense. The House is not in session.


From the Arctic to the Caribbean: A Workshop on Economic Opportunity,Environmental Risk, Emergency Management, and InternationalCooperation in the Offshore Oil and Gas Regions of North America, January 31, 2013, Tallahassee, FL.While the Arctic Ocean and the Caribbean/ Gulf of Mexico are separated by a continent, the two regions face similar opportunities for increased offshore petrochemical extraction, as well as attendant challenges in the areas of environmental risk, emergency management, and international cooperation. In the Arctic, new technologies, together with changes in the climate and petrochemical markets, have opened up a new era of research on best practices for managing risk and responding to emergencies associated with offshore oil and gas drilling. In the Gulf and Caribbean, exploration and drilling continue, but with increased awareness of the long-term and long-distance impacts that can result from a drilling-related disaster. As Florida policymakers consider opportunities for increased drilling in nearby waters and develop regulatory policies and emergency response plans, the Arctic Ocean, as well as the western Gulf of Mexico, stand out as regions where their counterparts have long faced similar issues. This workshop brings together scholars, policy makers, and practitioners who have conducted research, developed policy, and directed response in these two maritime regions. Speakers from Canada and the U.S. will share experiences insights, and best practices that can inform Florida's Management of its marine environment and marine subsurface resources.



Kerry Kerry Counsels Respect for Science in Senate Farewell. Sen. John Kerry's sometimes tearful goodbye on the Senate floor yesterday included a warning that public-sector money, partisan hostility and a lack of respect for science could hinder senators from addressing some of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century, including on energy policy. The Massachusetts Democrat, who is departing the chamber after 28 years to become secretary of State, said his remaining colleagues should work to overcome "the unbelievable disregard for facts, for science, in the conduct of our affairs."E&E News


SCIENCE: Retreat to Set Bipartisan Tone for House Committee. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is organizing a bipartisan retreat for the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday. The one-day retreat aims to provide an informal setting for members to discuss their priorities for the coming year and begin outlining an agenda, according to a committee aide. "Newspaper headlines insist Capitol Hill is hopelessly gridlocked," Smith said. "I want the Science, Space and Technology Committee to be the exception: a place where members on both sides can work together and find common ground. This retreat is a good start toward what I hope will be a year of bipartisan achievements." E&E News


Lynch, Markey Ready for Senate Primary Brawl in Massachusetts. Stevie from Southie or Eddie from Malden? That's the choice Massachusetts Democratic voters will have in three months when they head to the polls and choose a nominee for the Senate special election. And it will be a real choice. Roll Call


Polar bearHow Many Polar Bears to Harvest in Canada's Hudson Bay? Discussions over the polar bear population in Canada's Southern Hudson Bay have been postponed.  Representatives from the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut were supposed to get together in Inukjuak, Que., two weeks from now to discuss setting a total allowable harvest for the area.  But the meeting could now be months away. "The Nunavik Marine Board have just identified to us that they will be postponing the meeting until a further date because the report from the aerial surveys from 2011 [from the Ontario coastline] and the one for 2012 that happened off Quebec are not ready yet." Alaska Dispatch


Health Needs Survey Launched. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium have launched their second survey in an effort to assess Alaskans' wants, needs and vision for the future of health and health care in Alaska.  The second survey is designed to shorten the current list of 71 health indicators to the top 25 Alaskans feel are most important. The Healthy Alaskans 2020 initiative will track the state's progress in meeting these top health priorities between now and 2020.  All Alaskans are welcome and encouraged to participate in the process by accessing the Healthy Alaskans 2020 website at before Feb. 28, 2013, to take the second brief 10-15 minute survey. Capital City Weekly


Norway Ruling Party to Back Arctic Island Drilling. Norway's ruling Labour Party is set to support oil exploration off a pristine northern archipelago, bringing to a head controversy over drilling in the Arctic in the run up to elections this year. The seas off the Lofoten islands, perched some 200 km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, have unique cold water reefs and are the spawning grounds of the world's largest cod stock. The islands are also popular with tourists, attracted to their spectacular nature, with snow-capped mountains plunging into the sea and activities like hiking, fishing and whale watching. AlertNet


  Team Pioneers News Way to Survey Thawing Arctic. The arctic permafrost is thawing, and not just at the surface. The frozen terrain conceals regions of liquid groundwater containing the right mix of conditions to pose a new risk to the global climate. Now a Stanford-led team has demonstrated a new way to map these expanding liquid regions. Its findings are being published online this month in Geophysical Research Letters. "These measurements go toward a better understanding of how permafrost thaw processes may impact future climate," said lead researcher and Stanford post-doctoral scholar in geophysics Andrew Parsekian. Phys.Org


UAF's McGuire Earns AAAS Fellow Status. Landscape ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been named a fellow by the American Association of the Advancement of Science.  A. David McGuire is a professor of ecology at UAF's Institute of Arctic Biology and Department of Biology and Wildlife.  He also is assistant leader of ecology in the US Geological Survey's Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research at UAF. "Dave is internationally recognized for the importance of his research on the role of carbon cycle in Arctic and sub-Arctic environments and for his work modeling its effects on the global climate system," said Brian Barnes, IAB director and AAAS fellow, in a news release Wednesday. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


EU Hopes for Arctic Observer Status "Around Summer." EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday (31 January) with an agenda packed by the crisis in Mali and the wider Arab world. But one smaller agenda item is also attracting intense scrutiny, by oil companies and environmentalists alike: An EU proposal "to promote sustainable and peaceful development" in the Arctic region, outlined by the European Commission in a June 2012 policy document. The EU has shown great interest in the Arctic, in part because "some countries are thinking about drilling in the Arctic," said a senior EU official who was speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity. EurActiv

Job opportunity. The US National Academy of Sciences is searching for a new Board Director of the Polar Research Board (and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences), as the former director, Chris Elfring, is taking a new position in the National Academies. The job announcement is here.


Want an icebreaking catamaran, worth $80M, for free?  See this

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events                      


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013, Anchorage. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


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.


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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