Arctic Update Header
November 1, 2013


The House and Senate are not in session.



17th Sitka WhaleFest: "Arctic Sea Change: What's Ahead?" October 31 - November 3, 2013, (Sitka, Alaska). "Sitka WhaleFest presents a unique science symposium blending local knowledge and scientific inquiry concerning the rich marine environment of our northern oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include symposium lectures, interactive student sessions, marine wildlife cruises with scientists, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, student art show, and a fun run/walk."


"The Arctic is changing. This is an indisputable fact. How the people and animals who depend upon the Arctic will adapt to change is an open question. How will narwhals and polar bears cope with less summer ice? Bowhead whales may have their world rocked when humpbacks, fins and other baleen whales begin - they already are - feeding in their backyard. The resource users of the Arctic will need to make adjustments and changes to live in this new world. Who will be the sea winners and sea losers? These are questions we will discuss with the experts who are passionate about the Arctic."
Marine Transportation System (MTS) Industry Webinar on implementation of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, November 1, 2013 (Webinar). The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) Executive Secretariat is hosting a webinar for Arctic marine transportation interests to provide an overview and receive comments on the "National Strategy for the Arctic Region" implementation plan. The webinar is scheduled for Friday, November 1, 2013, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (Eastern). Presentations will be provided by NSS, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Department of State. 

Meeting number: 8773361839 Code: 7705293

Access the Webinar 




shell Shell Prepares Arctic Offshore Exploration Plan. Royal Dutch Shell PLC will submit an Arctic offshore exploration plan for waters off northern Alaska but has not made a final decision on whether to drill in 2014, the company announced Thursday. Chief Financial Officer Henry Simon announced third quarter earnings and answered questions about 2014, according to a transcript of the press conference. "Alaska is very much top of the priority list," he said. Juneau Empire 


Shell Faces Obstacles Even in Scaled Back Arctic Drilling Bid. Shell plans to make a dramatically scaled-back bid to find crude oil in Arctic waters next year, following a headline-grabbing 2012 season that left the firm with a beached drilling rig, air pollution fines and embarrassing equipment failures. But even though the company is prepared to scrap its damaged Kulluk drilling unit and focus solely on wells in the potentially more lucrative Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, major hurdles remain before the firm can return to the Arctic frontier. Anchorage Daily News


Iceland Iceland Aims to Become Arctic Hub After Abandoning EU Plans. Iceland wants to develop into a key Arctic business hub and create more trade relationships on its own after abandoning negotiations to join the EU, according to its foreign minister. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said Iceland is now focusing its foreign policy on the Arctic. He explained that his country now plans to put greater effort into creating stronger ties within the Arctic Council and aims to offer a base in the North Atlantic region to support trade with South Korea, China and Singapore as well as other countries.  Ice News


USAF To Test Small Wind Turbines, Fuel Cells in Extreme Arctic Conditions. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office (APTO) identified state-of-the-art small wind turbines capable in extreme arctic conditions for a winter demonstration. The demonstration will provide proof-of-concept as well as data regarding site conditions and failure mechanisms. The site will be remotely monitored to include data on ice, temperature, wind, humidity, and vibration sensors as well as camera feeds of the turbines. The information will be relayed via satellite for off-site, real-time analysis. Daily Fusion


Canadian Icebreaker Escort Service Key for More Arctic Shipping. When the Danishowned Nordic Orion became the first bulk carrier to transit the Northwest Passage, it relied on an escort, for part of the route, by the Canadian Coast Guard's most capable icebreaker, the Louis S. St-Laurent. Ottawa Citizen


NASA NASA Begins Airborne Campaign to Map Greenland Ice Sheet Summer Melt. For the first time, a NASA airborne campaign will measure changes in the height of the Greenland Ice Sheet and surrounding Arctic sea ice produced by a single season of summer melt. NASA's C-130 research aircraft flew from the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., to Greenland on Wednesday where they will conduct survey flights to collect data that will improve our understanding of seasonal melt and provide baseline measurements for future satellite missions. Flights are scheduled to continue through Nov. 16. NASA


Appropriators: Hurry Up and Get a Deal. Republican and Democratic appropriators alike are telling budget conferees to get a deal on a topline spending number sooner rather than later. Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Sen. Barbara A. Mikluski, D-Md., sent a letter to the top members of the bicameral, bipartisan budget conference committee Thursday, asking them to "make reaching an agreement on the FY 2014 and FY 2015 discretionary spending caps your first priority." Roll Call

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Events


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." 


Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 


"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 


Full Conference Agenda 


The World Wildlife Foundation hosts the Fuller Symposium on the Forces of Nature.
Speakers from around the world will engage in active discussion around topics including local responses to forces like land grabbing and climate change, evaluation of community conservation impacts, new technologies for catalyzing social movements, private-sector initiatives, and global policy opportunities. Edward Itta is one of the scheduled speakers. The annual Fuller Symposium convenes thought leaders in science, policy, conservation, and development to discuss innovative approaches to complex issues facing our planet. USARC Commissioner Edward Itta will present. 

RFP Closing Soon. November 13, 2013. As a result of the recent discussions regarding Social Science during the Board, Advisory Panel, and Science Panel meetings, the North Pacific Research Board would like to issue a request for quotes to organize a Social Science workshop and produce a final report as a follow-up to the commissioned white paper, "Global Review of Social Science Integration with Natural Resource Management." 

Please note that the deadline is Wednesday, November 13 at 5pm AKST. 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Due November 15.  The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 


For more information about the project please: 



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."

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13. (San  Francisco, CA)

The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the AGU logo geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to exchange information and broaden their knowledge base. In addition to the scientific programming, the meeting offers over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, including one on Monday, Dec. 9, titled, "Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) and Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), organized by Helen Wiggins, Brendan Kelly, and Hajo Eicken, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in 2018 Moscone West. 


Search the AGU meeting for Arctic-related research sessions here


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014. (Anchorage, Alaska) The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014. Tampa, Florida. Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11, Helsinki, Finland. ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


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."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
Abstract Submission Deadline: November 17,  2013

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