Arctic Update Header
January 13, 2014


capital Today's Congressional Action:   

The House and Senate are expected to consider non-Arctic legislation today.





capital [U.S.] Lawmakers Will Tackle Packed Agenda Before Recess. In what has become a familiar scenario, the House and Senate have a full legislative plate and only until Jan. 18 to clean it, with a potential government shutdown on the line. The current continuing resolution that keeps the government operational is set to expire Jan. 15, and appropriators announced on Friday that they would be seeking to approve a brief, three-day stopgap measure to avert a shutdown as they finalize the details of a massive omnibus spending package. The Senate has also so far failed to resolve partisan differences on offsets for an emergency extension of long-term jobless benefits that expired for 1.3 million Americans on Dec. 28. Roll Call


Pentagon - Defense Arctic Passage Opens Challenges for U.S. Military. The 40-year-old Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star returned to the Arctic Ocean this summer after seven years in semiretirement, charging into a thinning polar ice sheet that U.S. defense officials predict will give way to new commercial waterways and a resource-rich frontier by midcentury. Navy officials say the Arctic will give the U.S. its first new ocean to police since the annexation of the Pacific Northwest in 1846. As the ice surrounding the North Pole retreats, officials say, commercial shippers will be able to eventually move goods faster between Asia and Europe. More open seas will also give energy companies greater access to offshore oil and gas in regions controlled by the U.S. and estimated by military officials to be worth $1 trillion. Wall Street Journal


Neste Jacobs to Study the Establishment of Arctic Environmental Protection Center. Technology, engineering and project management company Neste Jacobs has on the basis of a public bidding competition arranged by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy been awarded the contract to evaluate the initiative to establish the Arctic Environmental Protection Center in Finland. The objective of the evaluation is to clarify the know-how and development activity on the Arctic oil and chemical incident prevention field under the Finnish research, industrial and authority sectors. Also the views and the requirements of the main stakeholders will be clarified during the study. Additionally the objective is to define the organization and the business model as well as the international context of the Center. NASDAQ


Baird Says Canada, Russia Work Well in Arctic. Whether it's sharp differences over gay rights, political meddling in Ukraine or controversy over same sex adoptions, there's no shortage of acrimony between Canada and Russia these days. But it's not all bad, insists Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird - himself an outspoken critic of Russia's so-called anti-gay law - because he says the two countries are getting along just fine in one important area: the Arctic. CBC News


Increasing Independent, Diplomatically Speaking. As the leader of Greenland's self-rule government, Aleqa Hammond has two portfolios. The first is that of premier, putting her in charge of the country's domestic affairs. The second is that of foreign minister. With her country's foreign relations still - officially - controlled by Copenhagen, the latter ought to be a quiet job. It has been anything but. Arctic Journal


Arctic Hunters Aren't All Celebrating 40-Year-Old Endangered Species Act. Last month, the Endangered Species Act turned 40 to much fanfare and publicity. But not everyone is celebrating. Four decades ago, President Richard Nixon sealed the deal with the aim of protecting and saving threatened and endangered plants and animals... The Endangered Species Act has additional implications for those living in the Arctic. Scientists and hunters alike can appreciate what the act stands for, and some have grown uneasy over the years with the ever-present possibility of more listings and thus more red tape. Alaska Dispatch


Global Warming Winners? North Slope Brant Thriving Amid Changes. Diminished Arctic sea ice and thawing permafrost, phenomena that reinforce the climate change cycle and perpetuate the region's warming trend, are not bad for all creatures of the north, a new study has found. On Alaska's North Slope, the changes have proved good for geese, according to a new study by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska and published in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 3561, the Prevent Russian Infiltration Act. Representative Jack Kingston introduced H.R. 3561 in November. On Friday, the legislation was referred to the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.


H.Res. 106, a bill to make further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014. On Friday, Representative Harold Rogers introduced House Resolution 106, a resolution to fund government operations for an additional three days. The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee. Currently, government funding expires on January 15th.


H.R. 3846, to provide for authorization of border, maritime, and transportation security responsibilities and functions in the Department of Homeland Security and establishment of United States Customs and Border Protection, and for other purposes. On Friday, Representative Candice Miller introduced legislation to authorize funding for the Department of Homeland Security and related agencies. Funding must first be authorized before it can be appropriated. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security.


H.R. 3845, a bill to require the Administrator of NASA to access the cost and schedule implications of extending science missions beyond planned mission lifetimes. H.R. 3845 was introduced by Representative Alan Grayson and referred to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Future Events


Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 


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.

Arctic Technology Conference, February 10-12, 2014. (Houston, TX) Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) provides offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. The Arctic Technology Conference (ATC) is built upon OTC's successful multidisciplinary approach, with 14 technical societies and organizations. The conference is an international event focused on continuing innovative technologies and solutions needed for exploration and production of energy within the circum-Arctic.


Arctic Ambitions, February 27-28, 2014 (Girdwood, Alaska). World Trade Center Alaska will host Arctic Ambitions III: Commercial Development of the Arctic. This conference focuses solely on Arctic international trade and business opportunities. It is anticipated that about 200 business and government leaders attending next year's conference. Arctic Ambitions III will concentrate on the theme of international trade and business opportunities that flow from resource development in the Arctic. While policy and research inform the discussion, the conference focuses on global markets, international trade and logistics. The previous two conferences brought together presenters from Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, Korea and Alaska.


Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). 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.


44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). 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."

Northern Regions Mining Summit, May 28-30, 2014 (Vancouver, BC, Canada). The Institute of the North will host the summit. The Summit will address the social, cultural and economic impact and opportunity of mineral resource development for Northern peoples in Alaska, Canada and Greenland. The organizing committee hopes you will consider attending and participating in what promises to be a unique forum for exploring the relationship between responsible mineral resource development and benefits to Northern peoples.

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."

 Arctic Circle, September 5-7, 2014 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural gathering drew more than 1200 participants from 40 nations, bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations for a series of meetings and presentations addressing the challenges and opportunities of the changing Arctic. The Assembly established itself as a platform for high-level engagement on issues, such as the meeting between Russia and Greenpeace regarding the "Arctic 30" detention, and it also provided new observer states the opportunity to communicate their Arctic strategies. Details about the 2014 Assembly will be announced in the coming months.


Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, December 2-4, 2014. (Trondheim, Norway)

The Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group is organizing the first Arctic Biodiversity Congress in Trondheim, Norway on December 2-4, 2014. The Arctic Biodiversity Congress will promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity through dialogue among scientists, policy-makers, government officials, industry, civil society and indigenous peoples. It is closely linked to the findings and recommendations of the first Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) released in May 2013.  

International Arctic Change 2014, December 8-12, 2014 (Ottawa, Canada). With over 1000 participants expected to attend, Arctic Change 2014 will be one of the largest trans-sectoral international Arctic research conference ever held in Canada. The conference will be a major international venue for knowledge exchange and networking across broad Arctic research disciplines in natural, human health and social sciences. General topics to be addressed include: Sustainable Development and Prosperity in the Arctic; Tracking and Predicting Socio-Economic, and Cultural Change in the Arctic; Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions; Community Health and Food Security; Monitoring, Modeling and Predicting Circumpolar and Regional Arctic Systems; Assessing, Understanding and Monitoring the Health of Arctic Populations; Indigenous Knowledge; Oceanic and Atmospheric Fluxes through the Arctic; Sensitivity and Change of Cryospheric Systems; Mapping the Arctic Ocean, Continental Shelves and Margins; Arctic Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystem Structure, Biodiversity and Services; Coastal Processes and the Vulnerability of Communities, Infrastructures and Resources; Legal, Political, Security and Navigation Issues in Opening Arctic Waterways; Adapting New Technologies to the Advantage of Arctic Research and Monitoring; Arctic Data Management, Access and Integration; International Collaboration in Arctic Research and Monitoring; and, From Knowledge to Decision and Policy-Making. 


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.


Photo (looking west) from the Key Bridge, in Washington, DC, 1/9/14 (a result of the "Polar Vortex")   J. Farrell. 

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