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October 21, 2013

The House and Senate are not in session.

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: 



Obama Announces DHS Nomination; Some Republicans Already Critical. Even as President Barack Obama formally announced his intent to nominate former Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson as Homeland Security secretary, the pick faced some GOP skepticism. Obama called Johnson "an outstanding public servant who I've known and trusted for years" in a Friday afternoon announcement in the Rose Garden. Roll Call


DOD Gears Up for Round 2 of Sequestration. Opponents of last year's across-the-board spending cuts are hoping - perhaps quixotically - that sequestration's second verse won't be the same as its first. Now that a bipartisan deal has ended the government shutdown, the resulting budget conference committee is the new best hope for turning off the cuts that have hit the Pentagon and defense industry hard and threaten to get even worse. Politico


Polar Research, EPA Rulemaking and Other Climate Work to Resume After 16-Day Shutdown. "We're back!" With that triumphant Thursday morning tweet, the NASA Climate Twitter feed announced its return, the end of the government shutdown and the restoration of climate science activities at the agency. NASA, which is very active on social media, had been missed by its 5 million followers during the shutdown. To fill the gap, online space and science enthusiasts created the hashtag #ThingsNASAMightTweet, as well as the @NASAShutdown Twitter account. E&E News


Alaska Scientists Endure Nights Stranded on Icy Mountaintop Perch. Leaning against her Thermarest pad inside an ice-coated helicopter, Taryn Lopez imagined herself as the little girl rocking to sleep in her parent's boat. Just before she drifted off on that early September night, the volcano researcher wondered if the climbing ropes would hold the Jet Ranger to the wind-pounded volcano on the spine of the Alaska Peninsula. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


India's ONGC Interested in Russia's Arctic Offshore. India's state-owned oil company ONGC is interested in exploring for oil and gas in the Arctic offshore with Russian partners, leaders of the two countries said after holding talks in Moscow on Monday. The two sides will study the possibility of pumping Russian hydrocarbons by pipeline to India, while agreeing on the significance of supplying Russian liquefied natural gas to India. MSN Money


Russia Volcano Erupts, Prompts Airspace Warnings in Alaska's Western Aleutians. Some of the most active volcanoes in the world were currently erupting on the Kamchatka Peninsula in southeast Russia over the weekend, shooting ash tens of thousands of feet into the air. On Sunday, shifting wind patterns put scientists on alert for ash that may potentially obstruct flight paths across the Bering Sea and Western Aleutians. Russia's Klyuchevskoy volcano spurted ash 33,000 feet in the atmosphere on Saturday, the National Weather Service wrote. The eruptions continued on Sunday, with ash shooting 26,000 feet into the air. Alaska Dispatch


Oil Polluters Trouble Regional Authorities [Komi Republic and Nenets Autonomous Okrug]. Companies, which do not inform about oil spills, must be put to justice, the regional Public Council on natural resources and environmental protection says. The council`s recommendations could now be included in new regional legislation, the Komi regional administration informs. Komi Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Geraimovich confirms that he is ready to look at measures aimed at revealing irregularities among the oil companies and that he will request the regional legislative assembly to elaborate a corresponding bill. Barents Observer


Børge Brende is Norway's New Foreign Minister. Børge Brende (born 1965) gets the Barents cooperation as one of his first tasks when he will hand over the chair of the Barents Council to Finland in Tromsø on October 29th. Brende is familiar with the Barents cooperation from several visits to northwest Russia during his time as Minister of Environment (2001 to 2004) and Minister of Trade and Industry (2004 to 2005).  Barents Observer


Icebergs, Insurance Hamper Top of the World Shipping Route. The new shipping route opened up through the Arctic by climate change will not be crowded any time soon. Cargoes of coal, diesel and gas have made the trip but high insurance costs, slow going and strict environmental rules mean there will not be a rush to follow them. Looser ice means icebergs. One vessel has already been holed, and large ice breaking vessels, not always on hand, are a must. Gulf Times


Russia to Allocate $63bn for Arctic Development. Russia plans to spend $63 billion by 2020 on its Arctic development program, according to a top government official. The draft version of the program could be submitted to the Cabinet by November 1, RIA Novosti cited Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev as saying on Friday. The comment was made in Moscow at the general assembly of the Northern Forum, which supports sustainable development in areas economically dependent on natural resources. RT


AK Beat: Shell Pulls Back on Arctic Drilling Near Russia's Sakhalin Island. An environmental group opposed to drilling in the sub-Arctic says that Sakhalin Energy has pulled back on plans for two new oil drilling platforms off Sakhalin Island. Pacific Environment says Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom decided not to move ahead with a new mobile platform in 2014 and delayed a decision on a permanent platform until 2017. Pacific Environment says that the platforms would threaten the survival of the Western Gray Whale, of which there are only about 150 alive. Alaska Dispatch


russian flag Most Russians Believe Arctic Should Remain Neutral- Poll. More than two thirds of Russians believe that Arctic territories should not belong to any state, a poll carried out by the Kremlin-backed pollster Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) said on Friday. Only 17 percent of respondents said the Arctic territories should be divided between states, while 69 percent are convinced that the territories should remain neutral and outside the boundaries of any country. RIANovosti

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was consider Friday.

Future Events



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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