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October 31, 2013


The House and Senate are in session.


Happy Halloween!






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."




Murkowski, Young Ask for Meeting on Proposed Transnational Bering Strait Park. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, both R-Alaska, have asked federal officials to schedule public meetings about a proposed agreement with Russia concerning a transnational park in the Bering Straits region. Murkowski and Young wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Monday. "Our understanding is that a memorandum of understanding has been agreed to by the Department of State and Russia, and that a delay in translating it for both sides is the reason it has not been released," the letter said. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Analysis: Implications of Greenland's Decision to Allow Uranium Mining. In a 15-14 vote, Greenland's parliament voted to overturn the long-standing ban on uranium mining. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed in a memo that it supported the decision given that Greenland has maintained control over its mineral resources since 2010. While the decision was close, the lifting of the ban should not come as a huge surprise. In mid-March, Greenland elected the social-democratic Siumut party, which had vowed to overturn the uranium mining ban. According to Northern Miner, the government had visited operating uranium mines in Alberta and had also met with First Nations leaders in Canada to talk more about the process. If the mining goes forward and is profitable, Greenland will be one step closer to achieving political independence from Denmark. Alaska Dispatch


Murmansk Fish Industry on Verge of Collapse. Fish processing plants in the Kola Peninsula are in crisis as new federal legislation disencourages vessels to land their catch in local ports. Prices on cod in the region are now almost twice higher than in neighboring Norway. Barents Observer


russian flag Russia Re-Opens Arctic Cold War Era Air Base. The base on Kotelny is planned to be the first in a chain of similar bases all along the northern coast of Russia. Work to reestablish meteorological stations and air bases on Franz Josef Land and Wrangel Island will soon start, according to TV Zvezda. President Vladimir Putin in September signed a decree that instructed the Ministry of Defense to reestablish the base on Kotelny along with the abandoned airbase of Tiksi on the mainland. The two air bases will protect offshore oil and gas resources in the area and keep an eye on the growing number of ships sailing along the Northern Sea Route. Barents Observer


Melting Permafrost Eroding Siberian Coasts. Rising summer temperatures and dwindling Arctic sea ice are eroding the cliffs of Eastern Siberia at an increasing pace. Scientists from AWI, the German Alfred Wegener Institute and the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research have been evaluating data and aerial photographs of the coastal regions from the last 40 years. As the sea ice recedes more and more from year to year, the cliffs are being undermined by waves. At the same time, the land surface is beginning to sink. Ice Blog

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Events

Marine Transportation System (MTS) Industry Webinar on implementation of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, November 1, 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 

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. 

RFP Closing Soon. November 13, 2013. As a result of the recent discussions regarding Social Science during the Board, Advisory Panel, and Science Panel meetings, the North Pacific Research Board would like to issue a request for quotes to organize a Social Science workshop and produce a final report as a follow-up to the commissioned white paper, "Global Review of Social Science Integration with Natural Resource Management." 

Please note that the deadline is Wednesday, November 13 at 5pm AKST. 

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 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.


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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