Arctic Update Header
 January 8, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session today.



** Please note, access to the Anchorage Daily News now requires a subscription.


president signingObama's Budget is Running Late. The Obama administration's fiscal 2014 budget is widely expected to arrive late on Capitol Hill, possibly not until sometime in March, primarily as a result of uncertainty created by fiscal cliff negotiations. The White House and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have not said when the budget will be released. By law, the spending proposal is due the first Monday in February, which will be Feb. 4. Fiscal 2014 will begin Oct. 1. Congressional Quarterly


Your Guide to Obama's Staff Reshuffling. With the inauguration coming up in a few weeks, President Obama has begun shuffling top administration jobs for his second term. Here is National Journal's guide to the expected changes. Government Executive


Tundra fireAlaska Science Forum: Bowheads Rise, Barrow Sinks, Fire Scars the Tundra. From my notebook, here's more northern news presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a five-day gathering of more than 20,000 scientists held in early December 2012 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco: Bowhead whales counted from a sea-ice perch north of Barrow are "doing beautifully," according to Craig George with the North Slope Borough. George has since 1978 counted bowhead whales for an eight-week period each year from mid-April until June. The whales, which spend their entire lives in arctic waters, are migrating past Point Barrow during that time. Since George and his colleagues began recording whale numbers 34 years ago, their counts have increased from 1,200 animals in 1978 to 3,400 in 2011. From those numbers of whales seen, George estimates there are now 14,000 to 15,000 animals. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Volunteers Needed for Annual Humpback Whale Count. Hundreds of volunteers are needed in Hawaii to participate in yearly census to count and record the behaviors of humpback whales. As many as 12,000 of humpback whales are estimated to come to Hawaii annually, traveling a distance of about 2,500 to 3,000 miles from their summer feeding areas near Alaska. Anchorage Daily News


How to Reverse Global Warming? Mimic Volcanic Eruptions. A Harvard expert has come up with an idea that could revive the Ice Age in a snap and end global warming. It's just one of a handful of "geo-engineering" schemes dreamed up by experts to chill our warming planet and ward off the devastation wide-scale melting could cause. The concept essentially mimics volcanic eruptions. It would be relatively cheap -- at least compared to the $2 trillion in annual repairs that climate change might cause by the year 2030, according to a recent report by David Keith, Harvard University's Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics. Alaska Dispatch 


russian flagRussia Creates Buffer Around Wrangel Island. ANALYSIS: On Dec. 27, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree creating a new buffer zone around Wrangel Island in the Arctic. Wrangel Island and nearby Herald Island have enjoyed environmental protection since 1976, when the USSR declared them to be state nature reserves (zapovednik, in Russian). Wrangel and Herald Islands are the only parts of the Arctic that constitute a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Alaska Dispatch


Norway Unveils $10 Billion Arctic Gas Projects. Norway's energy industry shifted its focus further north as oil and gas companies on Tuesday announced over $10 billion worth of projects in the Arctic to extract and transport offshore natural gas. Statoil unveiled plans to develop its 47 billion cubic metre Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Norwegian Sea for $5.7 billion, and a consortium of 10 firms agreed to spend a further $4.5 billion to build the 480 kilometre Polarled pipeline to bring the gas to an onshore processing plant. Reuters


Position Paper on Arctic Shipping. Recently the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) issued a position paper on Arctic shipping. The position paper considers principals of governance of Arctic Waters. ICS represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet. A link to the position paper is available here.

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events                      


Arctic Frontiers, January 20-25, 2013. (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is organised as an independent network and a leading meeting place for pan-arctic issues. The network was established in 2006 and later extended. Arctic Frontiers will host the conference to consider three main scientific topics. Geopolitics in a Changing Arctic; Marine Harvesting in the Arctic; and Arctic Marine Productivity. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013, Anchorage. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Development of a 5-Year Strategic Plan for Oil Spill Research in Canadian Arctic Waters, January 28-29, 2013, Calgary. This workshop is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF), a research program which sponsors environmental and social studies pertaining petroleum exploration, development, and production activities on frontier lands. The ESRF is directed by a joint government, industry and public management board and is administered by the secretariat, which resides in the Office of Energy Research and Development, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The workshop is held in an effort to produce a 5-year strategic plan for oil spill research in Canadian Arctic marine waters.


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.


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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