Arctic Update Header
July 15, 2013

The Senate will discuss changes to Senate rules concerning approving executive appointments. The House of Representatives will resume regular business tomorrow.


  • Final program listing here.
  • Over 100 registrants, but limited spacing remaining.
  • Tomorrow's speakers include Senator Murkowski, Fran Ulmer, Mead Treadwell, Kathy Sullivan, Sheila Riordon, Brendan Kelly, and Vadim Sokolov.


Opinion: Canada's time for action on Arctic sovereignty. "When Prime Minister Stephen Harper begins his annual Arctic tour next month he will be confronted by a simple truth. Canada is talking but not acting on its 
ambitions for the hotly contested territory bisecting 66 degrees parallel north. Boosting our military capabilities and claims to Arctic sovereignty has been a recurring policy theme for Harper on his seven previous summer tours of the north." Toronto Sun  

Canada's Arctic yield new clues in ancient mass extinction. "Canadian scientists probing two sites in the High Arctic have found fresh evidence pointing to a fiery Siberian suspect in the greatest mass extinction of all time - a planet-wide cataclysm that wiped out more than 90% of the Earth's species about 250 million years ago. The so-called 'Great Dying' at the end of the Permian geological era killed off a larger proportion of species than any of the 25 other mass extinctions scientists have identified from sudden and widespread gaps in the fossil record at certain layers of rock corresponding to specific periods of time." The Province 


China and the Arctic, part II: policies and priorities. "China's growing global role will find reflection in the up-and-coming politics of the Arctic, a small, but important area of land in which global interests converge, and whose governance is complex. Picking up on last week's piece outlining China's interest in the Arctic, this article is going to look at the more concrete dimensions of Chinese Arctic/Antarctic policies and the institutions responsible for them." The World Outline 


Opinion: Greenland and the Arctic: Still a role for the EU. "As the financing of major projects in Greenland will probably come from Asia and given Greenland's characteristics, the self-ruled territory needs to strengthen its political ties with its direct neighbourhood and historical partners: the Nordic region, the European Union and the United States." 


Developing northern economies: Spotlight Finland. "Despite increased commercial activity in the world's northern regions, the challenge of developing local economies remain. This is true not only in the Canadian Arctic, but around the circumpolar world. This summer, Eye on the Arctic looks back at our coverage of how different northern regions are tackling these issues - What they can learn from Canada, and what Canada can learn from them. Today, we take a look back at Finland's Arctic Lapland region." Eye on the Arctic 


Bering Strait ship traffic grows, with Russia leading way and Alaska lagging. "It's a tale of two Arctic nations, written across the top of the globe, with one moving rapidly to develop its resources for a booming Asian market and the other limping along with few facilities to support shipping. The disparities collide at the 50-mile wide Bering Strait dividing Russia and America, a passageway where the U.S. Coast Guard monitors the ping of oceangoing vessels electronically signaling their whereabouts." Alaska Dispatch 


Coast Guard opens seasonal location at Kotzebue. "The U.S. Coast Guard has opened a seasonal base in Kotzebue from which to run operations this summer. Capt. Daniel Travers is chief of incident management for the Coast Guard in Alaska. He says crews will conduct search and rescue operations, law 

enforcement patrols and homeland security missions in western Alaska and the Bering Strait. He says in a release that crews also will participate in scheduled Arctic Shield exercises. The Coast Guard will use Alaska Air National Guard hangar facilities at Kotzebue to house a crew and helicopter." Fairbanks News-Miner 


Editorial: Jewell response on ANWR laughably, provably dishonest. "Barely into the second term, it has long been clear that the only time you don't have to decide whether this administration is being dishonest or incompetent is when it is being incompetently dishonest. Such is the case with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's June 28 letter to Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell rebuffing his pledge of $50 million in state funding for 3-D seismic exploration of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Alaska Journal of Commerce



SURVEY (to help National Academies)

NAS logo


"The National Research Council's Committee on Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic seeks your assistance. This committee will provide guidance on future research questions in the Arctic over the next 10-20 years, identifying emerging issues (i.e., only now becoming possible to ask or address) in different realms of Arctic science and exploring both disciplinary realms (e.g., marine, terrestrial, atmosphere, cryosphere, and social sciences) and cross cutting realms (e.g., integrated systems science and sustainability science).  


"To this end, the committee kindly requests your assistance by filling out a short questionnaire ( Thank you for taking time to provide input to this study. We request your contribution by Friday, August 23, 2013."

For more info:

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation Friday. 


Future Events


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


"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. 


Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."


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 for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," 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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