Arctic Update Header
October 28, 2013
The Senate will consider a judicial nomination. The House is in session.


Norway Snub Shows Sharp Edge of Chinese ChinaflagDiplomacy. Mainly associated with conflict resolution, foreign assistance and cozy Scandinavian prosperity, Norway makes an odd target for China's ire. Yet for three years, Beijing has frozen relations with Oslo since a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, deeply embarrassing China's leaders. Diplomatic ties have been gutted, meetings canceled and economic ties hamstrung by an unofficial partial embargo on Norwegian salmon and a freeze on trade talks. Anchorage Daily News


Murkowski Blasts Federal Standards for Subsistence During Last Day of AFN Convention. The Carlson Center erupted in applause when U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski called the Federal Subsistence Board's rural standards "ridiculous" during her address to the Alaska Federation of Natives on Saturday. Murkowski said the regulatory standards used to determine which Alaska Native communities are rural puts subsistence living at risk and said the federal board is in dire need of reforming. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Begich, Murkowski Host Subsistence Hearing. Sen. Mark Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski hosted a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Saturday, hearing testimony at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention about subsistence concerns. Begich called the field hearing to discuss "rural food security," which the Democrat said centered around the ability of Alaska Natives to practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Shift in Domestic Violence Education Takes Hold in Alaska. Breaking the cycle of abuse is difficult. Especially if a woman doesn't realize she's in a violent relationship in the first place. For many women in Alaska, that's all they know. Until recently, it was standard practice for practitioners to ask clients if they feel safe at home. Or if they have ever been hit. Yes, or no? But those direct methods are giving way to less confrontational, more client-centered practices when it comes to domestic violence screening. Alaska Dispatch


Opinion: We Must Avoid Seeing the New Arctic Through an Old World Lens. It would be easy to think those with a thirst for exploration were born too late - to assume that humanity has already reached every corner of the earth there is to discover. But one region - the Arctic - still contains uncharted mysteries. As we fuel our curiosity by seeking to better understand this part of the world, we would do well to learn from the mistakes of the explorers who came before us. Alaska Dispatch


Opinion: America is Leaving Itself Out in the Arctic Cold. It's the grand prize in a globalized world - owning the shortest trade route between Asia, Europe and North America. In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out to grab that prize. Determined to map the Northwest Passage, he organized the best outfitted expedition in the history of polar exploration. Washington Examiner


Danish-Russian Cooperation on Arctic Shipping. On October 19th, the Danish Maritime Authority held a seminar on Arctic shipping with the Russian Ministry of Transport. The seminar was held in Saint Petersburg and was attended by the IMO Secretary-General. At the seminar, several topics were considered including: increasing ship traffic in the Arctic region, navigation safety, regulation, commercial possibilities and administrative reductions. Furthermore, the perspectives of future cooperation were debated, including under the auspices of the Danish-Russian government council as well as the work on the Polar Code in the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Port News


Science Scientists Deal With Federal Shutdown Fallout, Fear for Future of Research. Scientists are scrambling to recover after the government shutdown forced their research to go dark and cut off federal funding for weeks. And the already beleaguered scientific community fears that another shutdown in January could be devastating. "There's certainly a lot of frustration and anger," said Joanne Carney, director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Office of Government Relations. "Scientists are feeling like they were collateral damage." Frederick News-Post


Methane Will Not Interfere the North Sea Route. The Northern Sea Route runs from Murmansk to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and covers seven northern seas. This is the shortest route from Europe to Asia. Until recently navigation was limited due to climatic conditions and carried out only a few months per year. But now the situation is changing. The temperature rises in the Arctic, sea becomes ice-free, and that opens great perspectives for shipping, says Vyacheslav Ruksha, the CEO of "Atomflot". "In my opinion, we have this stage now when new shipbuilding opportunities open for the normal work of the NSR. This gives a significant advantage, especially on the route from Europe to Japan, South Korea, North China. We're not going to compete with the Suez Canal. It's just a good route, which can lead to some economic effect, which allows to develop further." Voice of Russia


Russia Seeks to Expand Influence in Arctic: russian flagOfficial. Russia has confirmed its intention to expand influence in the Arctic. Artur Chilingarov, Russia's special presidential envoy for international cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, made the remarks in the northern port of Murmansk Friday as he returned from a trip to the North Pole delivering the Sochi Olympic flame. Xinhua News


Lawmakers to Eye Draft Bill to Reinvigorate Basic Energy Research. A panel of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee this week in a hearing will investigate why U.S. leadership in basic science research is slipping and offer solutions to alter the current trajectory. The Energy Subcommittee will examine the Energy Department's Office of Science programs and management issues, as well as the challenges and opportunities to improve and prioritize the agency's basic research mission, a committee aide said. E&E News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered Friday.

Future Events

Marine Transportation System (MTS) Industry Webinar on implementation of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, October 31, 2013 (Webinar). The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) Executive Secretariat is hosting a webinar for Arctic marine transportation interests to provide an overview and receive comments on the "National Strategy for the Arctic Region" implementation plan. The webinar is scheduled for Friday, October 31, 2013, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (Eastern).  Presentations will be provided by NSS, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Department of State.

Meeting number: 8773361839 Code: 7705293

Access the Webinar 


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 


The World Wildlife Foundation hosts the Fuller Symposium on the Forces of Nature.
Speakers from around the world will engage in active discussion around topics including local responses to forces like land grabbing and climate change, evaluation of community conservation impacts, new technologies for catalyzing social movements, private-sector initiatives, and global policy opportunities. Edward Itta is one of the scheduled speakers. The annual Fuller Symposium convenes thought leaders in science, policy, conservation, and development to discuss innovative approaches to complex issues facing our planet. USARC Commissioner Edward Itta will present. 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Due November 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."

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13. (San Francisco, CA) The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, energized and passionate Earth and space scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science. In addition to the scientific programming, the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting offered over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, and numerous other events, activities, and services, including Section and Focus Group receptions, a student mixer, author and editor resources centers, a career center, and family-friendly activities.


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.


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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