Arctic Update Header
November 20, 2013


capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The Senate will continue consideration of the National Defense Authorization bill. The House will consider a resolution regarding natural gas permitting and a bill regarding states' rights in energy promotion.




Agency Considers Pinto Abalone for Endangered List. A 6-inch Pacific Ocean marine snail prized for its delicate flavor and colorful shell will be considered for endangered or threatened species status. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced last week that it will conduct a status review for pinto abalone, which are found from Alaska to Baja California. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Kachemak Bay's Foamy Brown Bloom of Phytoplankton Proves to be Strange Visitor. Scientists have now solved one mystery about a strange root-beer-like substance that covered much of Kachemak Bay this fall, but other questions remain. The growth that that turned much of the bay brown and foamy for weeks starting in late September turns out to be a massive bloom of the phytoplankton species Karenia mikimotoi, a substance that has caused major fish die-offs elsewhere. It was the first large bloom of this species documented in Alaska, said officials with the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a joint federal-state science center. Alaska Dispatch


Scientists Find 650 Years Change in Sea Ice Using Underwater Algae. Scientists from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) states that growing layers of algae in underwater sea reveals changes in sea-ice cover in past 650 years. Jochen Halfar, an associate professor in UTM's department of chemical and physical sciences, said this research has been taken place for the first time in marine history. Researchers said that coralline algae have been used for the first time to find out the changes in Arctic sea ice. Jochen said that new algal record depicts decrease in ice cover over past 150 years. Jochen along with his colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution, Germany and Newfoundland had collected and analyzed the images of underwater algae. French Tribune


At Climate Talks, Suggesting Measures to Slow Change in the World's Cold Regions. In Warsaw last week, the ICCI was presenting a report entitled "On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Lives", co-released with the World Bank earlier this month. It looks in particular at how reducing air pollution, for instance from cooking stoves in developing nations and diesel exhaust fumes, could slow down the changes to the cryosphere and at the same time bring huge health benefits to those who currently suffer from air pollution. The study calls for tough limits on pollution from methane and soot, which can settle on snow and ice and speed up thawing by making the surface darker. Alaska Dispatch


Numerous Contaminants, Including Flame Retardants, Found in Arctic Gulls. A recent study has discovered a range of contaminants in the glaucous gull population in Canada's eastern Arctic. The study was conducted near the predominantly Inuit community of Cape Dorset in Canada's Nunavut territory. New contaminants such as flame retardants were found in the birds, along with older contaminants such as mercury and chlorine. Alaska Dispatch


Greenland Climate Research Center "A Resounding Success." More than 60 scientists from 15 countries gathered in Nuuk, Greenland recently to discuss the results of projects initiated by the Greenland Climate Research Center. "The government is very proud that an internationally recognized climate research center has been established in Greenland in just a few short years," said Nick Nielsen, Greenland's science minister. "You have built a research platform with full-time professors, scientists, students and a vast network of connected scientists and students." Arctic Journal

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events


Canadian Science Policy Conference: Ocean Research and Policy Panel, November 21, 2013. (Toronto, Ontario) Ocean Networks of Canada will host a panel to bring together research and policy leaders to address how ocean science can inform, promote, and implement Canadian policy in key areas such as: hazard mitigation, climate change mitigation and adaptation (particularly because of the amplified changes in the Arctic Ocean), ocean health, renewable and non-renewable resource assessment, sovereignty and security, and socio-economic development. Central to achieving this goal is establishing and strengthening strong partnerships between research organizations and federal and provincial science-based departments and agencies. Executive Director of the US Arctic Research Commission John Farrell is a member of the panel.

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."
The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will convene to continue working on their draft of Alaska's Arctic Policy. This Preliminary Report will be submitted to the State Legislature on January 30, 2014 and will help guide the Commission's work in 2014 as they prepare to submit a final Report in January 2015. At the Anchorage meeting Commissioners will review and discuss draft Arctic policy statements, specific preliminary recommendations, and the supporting background document. See for a draft agenda and additional information as it becomes available.


Public testimony will be accepted Monday, Dec 9 from 11:15a-12:30p, limited to 3min. Supplementary written testimony can be emailed to

Meeting will be audio streamed live on


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.


The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.


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

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015. (Toyama, Japan) ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)
External links in this publication, and on the USARC's World Wide Web site ( do not constitute endorsement by the US Arctic Research Commission of external Web sites or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities, the USARC does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. These links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this newsletter and the USARC Web site.