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January 16, 2014


capital Today's Congressional Action:   

The House will consider non-Arctic legislation. The Senate will continue consideration of legislation to fund government operations through the end of the fiscal year.






McKeon Announces Retirement in Emotional Farewell. Choking back tears, House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) announced Thursday he was retiring from Congress at the end of 2014. McKeon made it official that he would not seek reelection on Thursday in a statement in the Armed Services Committee room, where he has presided over the powerful committee for more than three years. The Hill


House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus. The House on Wednesday afternoon passed the $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill funding the government through Sept. 30 with a large bipartisan majority. Lawmakers voted 359-67 on the omnibus package of all 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations, sending the bill to the Senate and almost certainly ending the risk of a government shutdown. Roll Call


EPA Concludes Pebble Mine Poses Significant Risk to Salmon. A long-awaited federal report released Wednesday concludes that a large gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay area poses significant risks to the region's thriving sockeye salmon runs and its people -- an assessment praised by environmental, fishing and Native groups as sound science and sharply criticized by the group trying to develop the proposed Pebble mine as rushed and flawed. Anchorage Daily News


Convective Forcing of Mercury and Ozone in the Arctic Boundary Layer Induced by Leads in Sea Ice. The ongoing regime shift of Arctic sea ice from perennial to seasonal ice is associated with more dynamic patterns of opening and closing sea-ice leads (large transient channels of open water in the ice), which may affect atmospheric and biogeochemical cycles in the Arctic. Mercury and ozone are rapidly removed from the atmospheric boundary layer during depletion events in the Arctic, caused by destruction of ozone along with oxidation of gaseous elemental mercury (Hg(0)) to oxidized mercury (Hg(II)) in the atmosphere and its subsequent deposition to snow and ice. Ozone depletion events can change the oxidative capacity of the air by affecting atmospheric hydroxyl radical chemistry , whereas atmospheric mercury depletion events can increase the deposition of mercury to the Arctic, some of which can enter ecosystems during snowmelt. Nature


Shell in Chukchi Federal Regulators Seeks More Details on Shell's Arctic Drilling Plans. Federal regulators still don't have enough detail on Shell Oil's latest Arctic drilling plans to judge whether the company is ready to proceed this summer. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management went to Shell on Tuesday seeking more information about the company's operating and exploration plans for the Chukchi Sea. This is the second time that BOEM has come back with questions since Shell's initial filing in November. KUCB 


Military Challenged by Changing Arctic Landscape. Patrolling the cold, icy waters of the Arctic has long been the responsibility of the Coast Guard, but as polar ice melts and ship traffic in the area increases, the Navy may take a larger role in securing the region. The Navy and Coast Guard will need additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, more reliable communications and better mapping and logistical support to safeguard the region, according to retired military officials and the Defense Department's 2013 Arctic strategy. National Defense Magazine

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


The House and Senate continue to consider legislation to fund government operations till the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

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.


Building Climate Solutions, January 28-30, 2014. (Washington, DC) The conference is organized by the National Council and Environment with the assistance of a variety of partnering organizations. The conference is expected to engage over 1,200 key individuals from many fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to climate change.The conference will be organized around two areas: [1] The Built Environment; and, [2] Agriculture and Natural Resources. Under these two themes, 24 tracks connect the conference to specific initiatives led by partnering organizations that advance solutions. In this manner, participants will engage with and have lasting impact on real world responses to climate change. 


The Arctic Encounter Symposium, February 7-8, 2014 (Seattle, Washington). 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 commissioners Fran Ulmer and Edward Itta will be speaking.

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. USARC Chair Fran Ulmer will be a speaker. 


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


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