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May 28, 2013

The House and Senate are in recess until June 3rd.



Morning Briefing: Help for Sequestered Agencies. The House and Senate are on their Memorial Day breaks, but some lawmakers are staying busy plotting next steps in the budget and immigration debates. Proposals circulating among senators would give federal agencies added flexibility to cope with the effects of mandatory spending cuts under the sequester. And lawmakers are already lining up with amendments for when the Senate takes up a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws the week of June 10. Congressional Quarterly


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard's Commander Nears Year on New Job. Throughout his two-decade-long career in the Coast Guard, Cpt. Paul Mehler III has traveled throughout the country and the world. Now, he can add Alaska to his list. Anchorage Daily News


Caribou Meat Marketed on Internet May Be Depleting Canadian Herds. Wildlife managers in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of  Nunavut are worried the growing online market for caribou meat may put extra stress on some caribou populations. Some Nunavut hunters have been selling caribou through Facebook, and shipping it to other communities. Alaska Dispatch


shell Questions Raised Over Why Shell Didn't Anticipate Big Storm. On their interrupted December voyage, Shell's Kulluk drilling rig and its tow ship, the Aiviq, experienced a terrible trifecta of bad weather, failed tow gear and the temporary loss of all four engines on the Aiviq. Shouldn't Royal Dutch Shell and its contractor have accounted for that possibility? That angle was pursued Friday during Day 5 of a Coast Guard marine casualty hearing into the Dec. 31 grounding of the Kulluk by Barry Strauch, the National Transportation Safety Board representative on the Coast Guard panel. Anchorage Daily News


Four-Hundred-Year-Old Moss Frozen in Little Ice Age Revived in Groundbreaking Experiment. In the long Arctic summers, Catherine La Farge camps out at the toe of the Teardrop glacier on Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north. The University of Alberta biologist has watched the ice retreat - up to four metres a year now - giving her an unprecedented view of what was entombed under the ice for 400 years. She's seeing old rocks, mud, and her specialty, ancient moss. One day, walking along the edge of the ice, La Farge noticed some of the moss had a greenish tinge. That gave her a hunch - could there be life in that old moss after all? National Post


Study Explores Atmospheric Impact of Declining Arctic Sea Ice. There is growing recognition that reductions in Arctic sea ice levels will influence patterns of atmospheric circulation both within and beyond the Arctic. New research in the International Journal of Climatology explores the impact of 2007 ice conditions, the second lowest Arctic sea ice extent in the satellite era, on atmospheric circulation and surface temperatures. Science Daily


Geoengineering: Our Last Hope, or a False Promise [Op-Ed]. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere recently surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in three million years. If you are not frightened by this fact, then you are ignoring or denying science.  Relentlessly rising greenhouse-gas emissions, and the fear that the earth might enter a climate emergency from which there would be no return, have prompted many climate scientists to conclude that we urgently need a Plan B: geoengineering. New York Times


russian flag Russia to Build Four Coast Guard Ships in Arctic by 2020. Eleven border infrastructure facilities will be deployed in the Arctic before 2020, deputy head of the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service Col. Gen. Nikolai Rybalkin told reporters. "The deployment is being done in line with the federal target program for 2012-2020," the general said. "Development of border infrastructure is a mandatory condition of border security. Whenever border infrastructure is deficient, it is necessary to enlarge the staff, numbers of men, and this puts an additional strain on the budget," Rybalkin said. "Shipbuilding priorities of the FSB Coast Guard have been determined in light of the Arctic objectives. Four ships will be built for the Arctic zone before 2020." Russia Beyond the Headlines


Russia to Breathe Life into Deserted Arctic Port. Citing General Director of Liinakhamari Port Management Company Sergey Kudrintsky, Barents Observer reports that negotiations with potential investors are under way. The port in the Russian Arctic will have an annual capacity of 15 million tons of oil and 4 million tons of fertilizer. The port of Liinakhamari in the outlet of the Pechenga fjord has lain more or less idle since the Coast Guard moved its vessels out of the area a few years back. The fjord is used for salmon farming. MarineLink


US, Canada, EU, Sign Atlantic Ocean Research Accord. The alliance will build on existing bilateral cooperation agreements and projects with the aim of developing and advancing a shared vision for the Atlantic. For the European Union, the Statement was signed by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki. For the United States the Statement was signed by Dr Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. For Canada, Senator David Wells signed on behalf of Edward Fast, Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. MarineLink

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation Friday.

Future Events



The Promise of the Arctic, May 29-30, 2013. (Seattle, WA) The economic potential of the Arctic is one of the 'hottest' topics on the national-and international-economic agenda. But what is the true potential? The Promise of the Arctic is a policy-driven conference that seeks to explore the opportunities-and honestly expose the challenges-of the harsh Arctic environment. The goal of the conference is to identify real economic opportunities for the maritime industry, and the obstacles for maximizing the promise of the Arctic. Attendees will hear from economists and the financial sector, policymakers...and private sector maritime companies currently involved in the Arctic.


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.


The 3rd airship workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions for creating incentives that would facilitate the establishment of strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern areas. Workshop topic areas will look at specific actions that may be initiated.



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.


Arctic Exchange (September 16-17, 2013) (Stockholm). The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery - one that 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 on offer, 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, (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.


Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, (November 7-8, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska). This workshop will bring together a diversity of stakeholders to advance a collective dialog 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 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.

  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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