Arctic Update Header
July 9, 2013
The House of Representatives will begin debate on H.R. 2609 - 2014 Energy-Water Appropriations Act, which President Obama has threatened to veto over reduced research funding for renewable energy.

NASA's polar robotic ranger passes first Greenland test. "Defying 30 mph gusts and temperatures down to minus 22 F, NASA's new polar rover recently demonstrated in Greenland that it could operate completely autonomously in one of Earth's harshest environments. The robot known as GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, was designed by teams of students attending engineering boot camps at Goddard in the summers of 2010 and 2011. Built to carry a ground-penetrating radar to analyze layers of snow and ice, the rover was later transferred to Boise State University for fine-tuning with NASA funding."


Arctic environmentalist wary of federal resource assessment review. "Northern environmentalists say a deal between the Northwest Territories and a federal economic development agency could water down how proposed resource projects are reviewed. Federal officials say the agreement is intended to make sure different government departments work together to ensure the assessment goes smoothly." Edmonton Journal


Murkowski: Pebble should provide more specifics. "U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski called on the companies seeking to develop a massive copper and gold prospect near the headwaters of a premier salmon fishery to release a mine plan soon, saying they are contributing to uncertainty surrounding the proposed Pebble Mine. Murkowski, in a letter to officials from Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., Anglo American plc and the Pebble Limited Partnership, said clarity over how the parties plan to proceed is in the best interest of everyone involved." Anchorage Daily News


Senate showdown looms on EPA nominee, other White House picks. "The Hill's Alexander Bolton has a new story that unwraps Senate Majority Leader 

White House

Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) plan to advance stalled nominations - including Gina McCarthy, the White House pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency." The Hill


White House threatens veto of energy, water spending bill. "The White House yesterday threatened a presidential veto of a bill to fund the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies that is expected to pass the House this week. President Obama's advisers 'would recommend that he veto the bill' because of its steep cuts to clean energy and research programs, among other reasons, the White House said in a statement yesterday." E&E News


Arctic misrepresentations. Arctic oceanographer Ken Drinkwater corrects a recent mis-quotation from Christopher Booker at the Daily Telegraph regarding the cause for the current Arctic sea ice extent


Finland - the global logistics hub by 2040. "Finland's geopolitical and economic position will undergo significant changes and move from periphery into the centre of global logistics by the year 2040, Arctic storm reports. Changes are caused by melting of the Arctic Sea ice, energy resources in northern Canada and Russia, and Trans-Asian Railway Reform through Russia. According to the latest report from Aalto University, for the next 30 years, world's operational focus will be on the Northern Hemisphere. Finland's position will change from the periphery to the centre of global logistics, describe the authors of the Arctic storm report, future-researcher Mika Aaltonen and Michael Loescher, an ex-adviser to the U.S. administration." Invest in EU


China and the Arctic, part I: Trade. "The Arctic Council convened in May of this year, under Canada's leadership, and reached an important milestone in the development of Arctic politics: the admittance of six additional states as observers on the Council: China, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea and Chinaflag Singapore. This article will focus specifically on China's commercial interests in becoming an observer state on the Arctic Council, and discuss what the impact of those interests on global trade patterns maybe be - specifically how global crisis points threaten to disrupt strategic flows." The World Outline


A look at East Asian diplomacy in the Arctic. "The chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Yu Zhengsheng, recently visited Finland, Sweden and Denmark. In Finland, the president and CEO of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (E.K.), Jyri Häkämies, expressed that the two countries' expertise are complementary. Elaborating on this point, he suggested that the two countries should collaborate on joint research and technology projects to tackle environmental and energy challenges. In Denmark, where Yu met with the Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and the Crown Prince, climate and energy also figured high on the agenda. Like many of the Nordic countries, Denmark is strong in green technology, an area in which China is keen to develop." Arctic Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday. 

Future Events


First Annual Women's Aquatic Network and Marine Transportation BBQ, July 10, 2013, 6-9 p.m., (Washington, D.C.).
 "Enjoy the NOAA fish fry? 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


"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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