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October 18, 2013

The House and Senate are not in session.



Obama Will Nominate Jeh Johnson to Head Homeland Security. President Obama will nominate attorney Jeh Johnson to be the next Homeland Security secretary. Johnson recently served as the Pentagon's top lawyer. Obama will announce his pick at 2 p.m. Friday, NPR's Scott Horsley tells us [NPR]. The Department of Homeland Security is currently without a leader. Former Secretary Janet Napolitano ended her stint six weeks ago. She left to become the president of the University of California system. NPR


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Russia Finds a New Island in the Arctic. Russia recently announced that a naval survey of its northern (Arctic) coast last year had discovered a new island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago. This collection of 191 ice and snow covered Russian islands was found to have yet another island, created when storms and tidal action carved a channel into one island and created two. This discovery was part of a massive effort to chart, in detail, the new ice free "Northeast Passage" that has formed off the north coast. Strategy Page


Innovation Contest Awards Event. The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management will award more than $20,000 in cash prizes today after the final round of presentations in the 2013 Arctic Innovation Competition. The competition, in its fifth year, drew a record-breaking 327 ideas submitted by 251 competitors. Entrants were asked to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


EU, Canada Finalizing Landmark Free Trade Deal. Canada and the European Union were set to finalize Friday a landmark free trade agreement to boost growth and employment. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were expected to hash out final details at a meeting in Brussels before announcing the tentative deal, which has been negotiated since 2009. Anchorage Daily News


Baffinland CEO Says No to Shipping Ore Through Northwest Passage. The head of a Canadian mining company developing a massive mineral deposit within the Arctic Circle said the Northwest Passage won't work as a viable shipping route to Europe and Asia. Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., which is owned by steel giant ArcelorMittal and private equity firm Iron Ore Holdings LP, is building one of the largest iron ore mines in the world on Baffin Island in Nunavut. The $750-million Mary River mine is on track to open in 2015 and the ore will be shipped to Europe. The Globe and Mail


Is Nunavut Decentralization Working for Communities? Government jobs are nothing new to people in the Eastern Arctic. They were a mainstay of the economy in the Northwest Territories days. But when Nunavut was created, and some government jobs were relocated to 10 "decentralized" communities, there were promises of Inuit employment and economic spin-offs. Igloolik, population 1828, is one of the Baffin region's largest decentralized communities-about 200 people work for the Government of Nunavut there. But that doesn't mean it's easy to get a job. CBC News


UK Sets Out Its Arctic Policy With "Legitimate Interests in the Region" and Priorities. The document sets out how the UK will continue to support and respect the sovereign rights of the Arctic States; the peoples who live and work in the Arctic; and the unique and fragile natural environment. At the same time it outlines the UK's legitimate interests in the region, our priorities for practical action and our willingness to show leadership in appropriate areas. Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said that "the Arctic is one of the most dynamic and influential regions of the world, despite its remoteness from large population centres and its often challenging geographical and climatic conditions. It is on the frontier of global climate change impacts." MercoPress


Half of Ketchikan Women Experience Violence. Out of every 100 adult women you see walking around in Ketchikan, 33 have been raped, and 43 have been slapped, hit or worse by an intimate partner. When you combine those numbers, that means 50 of those 100 people we see every day has experienced one or both of those types of violence. Alaska Public Radio

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was consider yesterday.

Future Events


The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments.  


The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: 


Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, October 22-23, 2013. (Fairbanks, Alaska) The next AAPC meeting will include discussion of Arctic policy recommendations and focus on science and research. Public testimony is invited from 11:15am-12:30pm Tuesday, October 22, at the UAF Butrovich Building. Please see for a draft agenda and more information. Meetings are also broadcast on


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."

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 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Released August 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."

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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