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November 26, 2013


The US Arctic Research website is updated. Please take a minute to review the new website and send your comments to Kathy Farrow (





capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House and Senate are not in session.



Whooping Cough Cases Back on the Rise in Southeast Alaska. Three more cases of whooping cough were confirmed over the weekend within the Juneau school district, bringing the total number up to five on Monday. In 2012, an outbreak of the highly-contagious illness saw a massive spike in reported cases in both Alaska and nationwide, and the ripple effects continue to resonate. The Juneau school district confirmed two cases of the illness last week, prompting the school district to issue an announcement to parents, staff and family members warning them of possible exposure to the illness. Three additional suspected cases were confirmed as whooping cough over the weekend, Juneau school district chief of staff Kristin Bartlett said Monday. Alaska Dispatch


Alaska's Rugged Low-Bush Cranberries Turn Out to be Antioxidant-Rich Superfood. The scarlet, tart-tasting cranberry -- especially the low-bush sort known formally as the lingonberry -- truly stands out. Though scientists are just beginning to dive into its specific health benefits, Alaska's wild cranberry is crazy-healthy when it comes to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity. "Keep in mind, you probably won't eat tons, but even a little bit packs a good punch nutritionally," said Julie Cascio, a home economist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Cooperative Extension Service. Alaska Dispatch


Alaska, Washington Senators Introduce Amendment to Build 4 Icebreakers. The U.S. Navy would be authorized to build up to four heavy-duty polar icebreakers for U.S. Coast Guard use under a bipartisan amendment inserted last week into a military authorization bill that was sponsored by senators from Alaska and Washington state. The amendment would give the U.S. Navy authority to contract for the vessels and have them built, then transfer ownership to the Coast Guard, the only service with responsibility for icebreaker missions, according to the amendment language. Alaska Dispatch


Yukon, Canada Program Incorporates Trapping, Aboriginal Culture Into High School Curriculum. Trapping, hiking and cooking over a fire. These aren't the kinds of activities most Canadian students encounter as part of their high school curriculum. But a unique program in Canada's northwestern Yukon territory is changing that, by incorporating First Nations history and culture into a special semester-long course. The Community, Heritage, Adventure, Outdoors and Skills program, known by its acronym CHAOS, is now in its fourth year. Alaska Dispatch


Unstable Siberian Arctic Shelf Releases Twice the Amount of Methane. The frozen permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf once considered an impermeable barrier trapping in methane, has lately showed signs of instability and started leaking tons of methane into the atmosphere each year.  A latest finding claims that the amount of methane released by the Arctic seafloor is twice the previous estimates. According to the study results reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, the East Siberian Arctic shelf,  a methane rich area that includes over two million square kilometer of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean, is releasing nearly 17 tetragrams (1 tetragram=1 million tons) of methane in the atmosphere each year. Science World Report


Arctic Warming Almost Certainly Man-Made, Says Scientists. A geography and environmental science professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax has been analyzing temperature data from the Far North and says he's almost certain the warming in the Arctic is caused by humans. Cristian Suteanu has been looking at data from weather stations in Canada, Norway and Russia and said it's almost improbable that the warming trend he's seeing could be caused by natural variability. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events


The Arctic: Region of Cooperation and Development, December 2-3, 2013. (Moscow, Russia). The Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) together with the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) RAS and in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Center for Strategic and International Studies will host an international conference on "The Arctic: Region of Development and Cooperation". The event is endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The conference is held in line with RIAC long-term project Roadmap for International Cooperation in the Arctic, aimed at promoting the development strategy of the Russian Arctic and preserving its unique environment on the basis of international cooperation. The main objective of the conference is to establish a permanent forum for representatives of the expert community, ministries and departments for systematizing the experience of international cooperation in the Arctic in order to develop proposals for effective development of the region and responsible use of its resources. USARC Commissioner David Benton is one of the speakers.


Report Release: Abrupt Climate Impacts: Anticipating Surprises, December 3, 2013. (Washington, DC). The National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate will release a report entitled "Abrupt Climate Impacts: Anticipating Surprises." The public release event will be at the Koshland Science Museum with a briefing from James White (committee chair, University of Colorado), Anthony Barnosky (University of California - Berkeley), and Richard Alley (Penn State University).

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."
Alaska Policy Commission Meeting, December 9-10, 2013. (Anchorage, Alaska). 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.

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