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November 29, 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.



Senators Push for New Heavy Polar Icebreakers. Lawmakers from Alaska and Washington have introduced language in a federal defense spending bill that would authorize the building of four new heavy polar icebreakers. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., announced the amendment to the National Defense Spending Bill earlier this week. The item is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Patty Murray, D-Wash. Anchorage Daily News


Denmark Makes New Claim for Arctic Seafloor. Denmark and Greenland have submitted a claim for 62,000 square kilometers of Arctic sea floor. The claim is the fourth of five that Denmark is expected to submit before a deadline in 2014 - 10 years after signing the UN Convention of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) - which in total could expand Denmark's territory by around a million square kilometers. Currently, the territory of the six countries bordering the Arctic Ocean (Denmark, Canada, Russia, Norway, the US and Iceland) extends 200 nautical miles into the sea, an area which makes up their exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Arctic Journal


Wolves Wolf Views Plummet in Denali National Park; State Decision on Trapping, Hunting Blamed. Wolf viewings by tourists are down dramatically in Denali National Park and Preserve, and conservation groups are blasting a 2010 decision by Alaska game managers to allow wolf hunting and trapping on a chunk of state-owned land outside the park. The National Park Service didn't voice that same accusation so clearly. But in a press release about the drop in viewings, the agency highlighted the decreased wolf population and the state's policy. Alaska Dispatch


Battling Noxious Aquatic Weeds Threatening Some Alaska Waterways. Two species of Elodea, aquatic plants commonly known as Canadian and Nuttall's waterweed, have been found in recent years in a handful of lakes and sloughs near Fairbanks, Anchorage, Cordova, and Kenai. Native to some states in the Lower 48, these two species are the first invasive aquatic weeds in Alaska. Unlike some terrestrial weeds that seem to be content hanging around towns and highways, Elodea is fully capable of spreading into slow-moving water bodies throughout Alaska. It has already begun. Alaska's vaunted sport, commercial and subsistence fishing industries may eventually be the weed's first victims. Alaska Dispatch


russian flag Russia Begins Deployment of Aerospace Defense in Arctic. Russia has started the deployment of aerospace defense units in the Arctic and construction of an early missile warning radar in the country's extreme north, the commander of Aerospace Defense Forces said Thursday. "The expansion of [missile early warning] radar coverage is one of the key areas of our work, especially when it comes to [Russia's] extreme north - we have already started the deployment of electronic warfare units in the Arctic," Maj. Gen. Alexander Golovko said. Russia & India Report


Why Norway's Shipping Industry Sees Arctic Boom. The top of the world is about to get a lot busier as shipping lines and energy companies look to make the most of new trade routes and uncovered natural resources in the Arctic. Boasting the world's second largest and most advanced offshore fleet, Norway's shipping industry is joining in on the rush to the Arctic, Sturla Henriksen, the director general of the Norwegian Shipowners' Association told CNBC on Thursday. CNBC


Pentagon - Defense DoD's Increased Arctic Attention Welcomed by AAPC Co-Chairs. Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Co-Chairs Senator Lesil McGuire and Representative Bob Herron have approved of a recent DoD report, introduced by United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, but pointed out that the overarching language is short on details and lacks a plan for implementation. Background: Chuck Hagel, announced the release of his agency's 14-page "Arctic Strategy", touting it as a plan to ensure security, support safety and promote defense cooperation in the region. Hagel chose the International Security Forum at Halifax, Nova Scotia, as the venue for his announcement where he recognized the challenges of climate change and new trends in global geopolitics while calling for Arctic nations to work together to avoid conflict. MarineLink


Northwest Passage Fiber Optic Line Could Support Defense Arctic Strategy. A Canadian company's bold project to install a high speed fiber optic network across the roof of the world could provide the Defense Department with broadband connections to support its new Arctic strategy unveiled last week Arctic Fibre of Toronto plans to start construction in May 2014 on its $620 million, 24 terabit network linking London and Tokyo with a route through the Northwest Passage. The network is slated to start operating in January 2016. It will have 100 gigabit spurs to areas of Alaska that have minimal or no communications links, Douglas Cunningham, the company's president told Nextgov. NextGov 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Wednesday or Thursday.

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 goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.


The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.


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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