Arctic Update Header
July 1, 2013


The House of Representatives and the Senate are on recess this week for the Fourth of July. 


If you missed last week's update...


"Federal land managers are looking for six people with experience in the Arctic to serve on an advisory panel as part of the North Slope Science Initiative. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, in a notice in Wednesday's Federal Register, said nominations to the Science Technical Advisory Panel must be received within 30 days. The initiative is a local, state and federal effort to identify the research needed in conjunction with development work on Alaska's North Slope. The panel has up to 15 scientists and technical experts in a variety of fields - from petroleum engineers to subsistence hunters. Six positions are up for nomination. Terms are three years."

For more information or to nominate someone, contact: 

John F. Payne, executive director, North Slope Science Initiative, AK-910, c/o Bureau of Land Management, 222 W. Seventh Avenue, 13, Anchorage, AK 99513, call 907-271-3431 or email 

Nomination are due July 26th, 2013. Forms are available on the initiative website,

Additionally, Fairbanks researcher Richard Fineberg, who has been tracking the Alaska oil industry for decades, will offer his critique of the Legislature's handling of the oil tax reduction at the Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks, AK at 7 p.m. tonight. The event is free to the public. More information is available here at the Fairbanks News-Miner.


Murkowski 2Opinion (Sen. Murkowski): Go North, America -- to the Arctic. "America was born from pioneers who saw opportunities and seized them. From the early colonies to westward expansion across prairies and up rivers, visionaries moved to regions blessed with an abundance of possibilities. That spirit is in short supply now when the United States truly needs it, as much of the world looks "north to the future" to all that is opening up for our nation in the Arctic region." Alaska Dispatch


Opinion: Native Alaska, under threat. "I travel the world on the professional ski and snowboard circuit, but I grew up in a place most will never know firsthand. I was raised in Aleknagik, Alaska - an indigenous Yupik Eskimo village 400 air miles from the nearest chairlift and accessible only by boat and plane. It's one of the most remote places in North America. This area is gaining attention as the proposed location of the Pebble Mine, which could end up as the largest open-pit mine in North America and threaten thousands of acres of pristine watershed and the spawning grounds of the largest wild sockeye salmon run on the planet." New York Times


Opinion: Oh, Canada: How America's friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate. "...Basically, Canada has been the United States -- not as it is, but as it should be. But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It's no longer America's better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent's energy-soaked future." Foreign Policy


Scientists head to Banks Island in search of Arctic's warmer past. "They've found evidence of giant beavers, camels and tree trunks in Canada's High Arctic so researchers, heading to an area thought to be from the same geological formation and time period, are wondering what might be in store for the coming summer field season. A team of researchers, under the leadership of Canadian Museum of Nature paleobiologist Natalia Rybczynski, is heading to Banks Island this summer, just outside Nunavut's western boundary, to look for more evidence of the Arctic's warmer, boreal-type forest environment of three to five million years ago." Nunatsiaq Online


Alaskans express concerns, hopes at Arctic meeting. "Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series by The Arctic Sounder examining the dialogue from the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission's Barrow meeting in June. Amid the several days of organizational discussions and reports, the participating members of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission heard one thing loud and clear during its meeting in Barrow in June -- the people of the Arctic deserve to be listened to." Alaska Dispatch


Polar Star headed for Arctic ice trials. "The United States' only heavy icebreaker will soon be back in service after a four-year, $90 million renovation. The USCGC Polar Star was scheduled to leave Unalaska last Friday to undergo several weeks of ice trials in the Arctic. The 399-foot-long ship is painted bright red. Its decks are clean and shiny, and brand-new anchors rest in neatly coiled piles of chain on the prow. Ensign Paul Garcia explains that this is all the result of a massive overhaul of the ship that wrapped up in 2012. 'The engines were getting replaced, the main gas turbines were getting replaced, all of our cranes ... those are all brand new,' he says."


Russia expects spat over Arctic oil and gas. "Rivals looking at the potential development of oil and natural gas in arctic regions may work to thwart Russia's ambitions, the deputy prime minister said. Energy explorers are examining emerging developments in arctic regions as warming trends leave northern seas free of ice for longer periods of time during the year." UPI Asia


World's strongest powers get ready to fight for Arctic riches. "Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin's strong statement that Russian oil and gas facilities in the Arctic could become the target of sabotage on the part of other countries has already caused plenty of discussion. This statement was made at the conference held in Moscow with a very 'telling' name - 'Being strong: guarantees to the Russian national security.'"


Chinaflag China gets hungry for Arctic oil. "China is the world's second-biggest importer of crude oil and its companies are on the prowl for oil all over the world. By 2015, its oil companies are expected to produce more oil outside of China's borders than Kuwait pumps, according to the International Energy Agency. The global Chinese search for energy has put a new region on the top of its agenda: Arctic oil." Money Morning


Obama announces creation of new White House Council on Native American Affairs. "Citing a history of mistreatment that has hurt Indians, President Barack Obama has established a White House Council on Native American Affairs to promote a healthier relationship among the United States and tribal governments. The leaders of 30 federal departments and agencies will serve on the council, which is charged with aiding tribes with economic development, transportation, housing and health care." Washington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


On Friday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (Hastings, WA). 
The Arctic Sounder discussed the bill's potential impact on Alaska's shores earlier last week: "A bill making progress through the legislative ladder of the U.S. Congress is garnering some nervous attention in Alaska this month. House Bill 2231 could potentially open up the previously protected waters of Bristol Bay, along with many other areas in the U.S., to offshore drilling. The legislation is called the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, and was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee earlier this month by a majority vote of 23 to 18." Arctic Sounder 

Future Events


Or did you miss it? Either way, come out to the inaugural BBQ put on by the Marine Transportation community, in conjunction with the Women's Aquatic Network (WAN). 


The event will be held at the Capital Yacht Club, 1000 Water St. SW, Washington, DC 20024, on July 10th, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It's accessible from the L'Enfant or Waterfront metro stops. Tickets are $20, and include hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie options, side 

dishes and two drink tickets. Register here"


"Why is this in the Arctic Daily Update?"
Because the "Marine Transportation" community includes the Committee on Marine Transportation System that is working on a report on the Arctic Marine Transportation System, here.


3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, July 10-12, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "The 3rd Airship Workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions that would facilitate establishing strong cargo airship business commitments to serving customers in Alaska and other Northern areas. Workshops will consider specific actions that may be initiated."

The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) are co-hosting this symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice  and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region.


Meeting is open to all. Registration is $175. DOD participants can register and pay for this without special approval. The meeting is co-sponsored by the DOD, and in your internal request document, we've been advised that you should indicate that this activity is a "Review of Arctic Change Impacts." For Navy personnel, this means that approval by the DoN/AA is NOT needed. 


Among the many confirmed speakers are:

Alaskan Senators (Lisa Murkowski
and Mark Begich)
Murkowski Begich
USCG Commandant ADM Robert Papp & Navy Oceanographer RADM Jon White
Papp White 
NOAA's Acting Director, Kathy Sullivan, AK LT. Gov., Mead Treadwell, USARC Chair, Fran Ulmer, and Canada's Minister for Political Affairs, Sheila Riordon
SullivanTreadwell FranUlmerRiordon


Alaska State Society Brunch and Qugruk Forum with Fran Ulmer, Saturday July 20, 2013, 11 a.m. (Mr. Henry's, Washington, D.C.).  "This month's guest will be Fran Ulmer, the Presidentially-appointed Chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission. As Alaskans know, Fran Ulmer has also been, at various times, the chancellor of UAA; the Lt. Governor of Alaska; an Alaska state legislator; and the mayor of Juneau. We'll brunch for 30 minutes, then give the floor to our speaker. Under the banner, 'What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic,' Commissioner Ulmer will address Arctic shipping, research, climate change, and oil-spill prevention and response--all followed by questions and answers from the audience."

Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops are held as part of the Week of the Arctic, varied in form to reach different audiences and achieve multiple goals. The Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award dinner is the signature event for the Week of the Arctic. In recent years, the Award has been given to Red Dog Mine (2012) and Jacob Adams (2011). The award was created in 2000 to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions toward sustainable development in the Arctic. Join us as we present CH2M Hill this year's Award. The Week of the Arctic culminates on Sunday, August 18 with a champagne toast in celebration of the Governor Walter J. Hickel Day of the Arctic.

101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 logo with background (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting agenda will be posted on the USARC website,, closer to the meeting date. 



7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). "The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workshop on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics."


Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky."


The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (Akureyri, Iceland). "The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal."


The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). "The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism."


The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) school and workshop for young Arctic researches, October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments. 


The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website:


Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland). "The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross-cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic."


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."


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