Arctic Update Header
May 1, 2013


The House and Senate are in recess this week.


Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 29-May 1, 2013. (Anchorage Alaska) The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three-day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 8th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference. 


Nutrition North Changing How Northern Retailers Do Business. Changes to the supply chain for Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. are creating new transportation routes in the High Arctic. Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. is ending its decades-long relationship with First Air. Starting Saturday, Canadian North will coordinate Arctic Co-op's freight deliveries to the Baffin region of Nunavut, pairing up with Cargojet and Calm Air and using Winnipeg as a hub. CBC News 


caribou Caribou the Missing Piece of Arctic Warming Puzzle. Caribou grazing has not previously been recognized as a key component to controlling tundra plant growth and therefore has been left out of models that project changes in arctic ecosystems and arctic warming. "Even at low population sizes, caribou restrict tundra plant growth, which indirectly may help restrict climate warming," says Queen's University PhD candidate Tara Zamin (biology). Plant growth has been increasing in the Arctic tundra over the past several decades. These changes in plant biomass could increase climate warming by increasing the amount of heat absorbed by the Earth's surface." Phys.Org 


House Science Subpanels Mulls Cost, Risks of Global Warming Policy. A House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpanel slogged over familiar ground yesterday in a hearing on man-made global warming -- including whether or not it is happening. But while the Environment Subcommittee and the three experts who had been invited testified on the reliability of climate models and other themes, they devoted more time to a discussion of the costs of global warming to society and on which policies might or might not be justified to avoid them. E&E News 


arctic shipping 'Decoding' the Polar Code. In this second of two blog posts, policy officer for clean shipping, Antoine Kedzierski, looks back at the origins of the Polar Code, the international code of safety for shipping in Polar waters, the recent International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision on the environmental chapter and what a robust Polar Code should look like. Kedzierski's previous blog set out the difficulties encountered when navigating through most of the 'conventional wisdoms' about Arctic shipping. One important overriding theme, however, pervades all these messages: as the Arctic ice melts, shipping activities there are reporting double-digit growth. Rapid action is therefore necessary to ensure maritime safety and guarantee environmental protection in this particularly fragile and unique ecosystem. The IMO came to a similar conclusion in 2002 when it adopted voluntary guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters. One thing is clear though: we cannot rely on a set of voluntary standards as the only instrument to effectively protect the polar environment. Bunker World 


Alaska Watches as Canada Considers Shipping Tar Sands Oil Across Arctic Ocean. Is Alaska nearing the day when large oil tankers will sail by its Arctic shoreline, carrying Canadian tar sands oil to foreign markets? The provincial government of Alberta is toying with the idea, sinking money into a study to find out if an Arctic shipping plan makes more sense than moving its oil through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Lower 48, or pipelines west or east through Canada. Alaska Dispatch 


Iceland New Era in Icelandic Politics? During Saturday's parliamentary elections in Iceland, two center-right parties seized power from the incumbent Social Democrats. Iceland Review states that the Independence Party won a reported 28.5 percent of the vote, while the Progressive Party won 25.2 percent. What does this mean for Iceland's Arctic strategy and the region at large? First of all, EU membership is now likely off the table. Both the Progressives and Independents oppose acceding to the union. In fact, it was the Progressive Party which promoted the idea of replacing the Icelandic króna with the Canadian dollar. In 2012, the party's leader, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, said, "If we are going to adopt another currency, then the Canadian dollar looks very promising." Yet they're still pro-króna more than anything. Alaska Dispatch 


Is 'Social Promotion' Working in Canada's Eastern Arctic Schools? There's been a lot of debate about "social promotion" in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut -- the practice of moving kids up a grade, whether or not they've mastered the skills. The Nunavut government defends the practice, and so do many education experts. Ben Levin, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, said all of the research suggests that failing kids is bad policy. "There just isn't any reason to think that if we held more kids back, the results would get better. In fact, there's every reason to think that if we held kids back, in the long term, results would get worse," he said. Alaska Dispatch 


NASA's IceBridge Finishing Up Successful Arctic Campaign. With several weeks of science flights in the books, researchers with NASA's Operation IceBridge are on the way to completing another successful campaign to maintain and expand a dataset that started with NASA's ICESat in 2003, and gather additional Arctic ice measurements that can improve computer models of sea and land ice. Since the start of the campaign in mid-March, the IceBridge team has measured sea ice, mapped sub-ice bedrock and gathered data on Greenland's glaciers by flying science missions out of Thule Air Base and Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, with a short deployment in Fairbanks, Alaska. Phys.Org 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events




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.


*** NEW ***
Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic 
The US's National Research Council's Polar Research Board will hold a public meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, May 7-8 to discuss "Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic." The agenda for the meeting is here.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development (ISCORD 2013) (June 2-5, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska) The International Association for Cold Regions Development Studies (IACORDS) and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will host a conference on "Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions." Special Keynote Sessions each day include "Bridging the Gap Between Climate Change Science and Engineering Practice"; "The Challenges of the Debris from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan"; and "Energy in Alaska - Current and Future Projects."


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC)   AGU logo

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 (see 6/25 forum titled "US Government Investment in Arctic Change Research"). The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and icedimArctic Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) co-host this follow-on 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. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.


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 sixprevious ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International Workship 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.


The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, (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.


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 research scientific 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.


USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)