Arctic Update Header
July 26, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will resume consideration of cyber security legislation. The House will consider a resolution condemning the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and legislation that would prohibit agencies from writing new rules or guidance that would cost more than $100 million for at least two years or until the unemployment rate drops below 6 percent.



AL-CanWith Warming, Peril Underlies Road to Alaska. In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the Army Corps of Engineers an assignment: Build a road from British Columbia across the Yukon to Alaska - in eight months, before winter sets in. Japan had just destroyed much of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Alaska was vulnerable to invasion (in fact, the Japanese occupied two Aleutian Islands that June). If Americans did not build a supply road linking Alaska to the heart of North America, the thinking went, invading Japanese would do it for them. But prospects for success were poor. The road would traverse 1,500 miles of mountainous subarctic terrain, most of it unsettled, heavily forested and unmapped. Engineers would face fierce cold, fierce heat, vicious insects, and vast stretches of permafrost and boggy terrain called muskeg that swallowed bulldozers whole. New York Times


Ice Damages Hull of Sealift Ship Near Iqaliut: Two other cargo ships struck at mouth of Frobisher Bay. Ice buildup in parts of the Eastern Arctic are causing sealifts to delay unloading their cargo, meaning people and companies expecting cargo by ship will have to wait a bit longer. According to officials with Desgagnés Transarctik, two cargo ships are stuck at the mouth of Frobisher Bay, near Iqaluit, and even with the help of Coast Guard icebreakers they can't get through. One ship that made it through recently, the Zelada Desgagnés, suffered significant damage to its hull. It has been anchored in Iqaluit's harbour, and will need an escort back to Montreal when the ice allows it. CBC News 


A Russia Lake Helped Scientists Reveal the Reasons of Climate Change. Studies of sediments from the bottom of Lake Elgygytgyn in Chukotka, conducted by an international team of researchers, have revealed two "super" interglacial warming periods that took place above the Arctic Circle. The scientists also discovered a clear interaction between the Arctic weather and melting of the ice in Antarctica. The researchers adopted a shorter name for the lake, "Lake E." It is a deep, circular bowl, surrounded by a ring of low hills. The lake developed at the site of what scientists say is most likely the impact crater from a large meteor strike over 2.8 million years ago. The meteorite fell in a convenient location for scientists, because it is one of the few places in the Arctic that is not glacier, so the lake-bottom sediments have accumulated, undisturbed. By drilling into the lake bottom and studying the cores, scientists reached thirty times deeper into the past than they could with ice cores from Greenland, which can reveal approximately the past 110,000 years. Russia: Beyond the Headlines


Barents SeaBarents Sea Rock Atlas Aids Arctic Energy Exploration. RSI recently completed several late sales of its 79-well Barents Sea Rock Physics Study and Atlas of Seismic Expression; in total 17 companies have now licensed this product. The total value of the Barents Sea late sales and Mid-Norway exceeds $900,000. RSI CEO Richard Cooper stated, "It is clear that the recent high impact discoveries made by Statoil and partners at Skrugard and Havis have reinvigorated interest in the Barents Sea. With more than 70 blocks available as part of the 22nd licensing round in the Barents Sea, we are delighted that many E&P companies view our comprehensive rock physics study as a key tool for assessing the prospectivity of the region. In addition, significant interest has been shown in our recent proposal to launch a research project that investigates the causes and effects of electrical anisotropy and its impact on controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) data." MarineLink MarineLink


Are Alaska Regulators Ready to Respond to an Arctic Oil Spill? From the hallways of Congress to Alaska's northern shores, the hype over offshore oil development in the U.S. Arctic continues as Royal Dutch Shell awaits federal permission to launch the first exploratory drilling there in more than a decade. Shell's summer plans to tap five exploratory wells remain delayed as the EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar review permits and other aspects of the project. On Wednesday, Dow Jones cited unnamed sources to report that Shell officials approached the Obama Administration about extending the company's summer drilling window in the Arctic, a period that shrinks daily in part because sea ice has been unusually slow to leave the region. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said in an email Wednesday that Shell officials made no such request. Alaska Dispatch 


Circumpolar Leaders to Gather at 2nd Arctic Imperative Summit. A thought-provoking mix of Alaska, U.S. and international luminaries will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Alaskans at the second annual Arctic Imperative Summit. This intimate gathering of industry, investment, government and Arctic community leaders convenes August 24-27, 2012, in Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska. The Summit aims to sharpen the world's focus on the Arctic by providing a cross-disciplinary forum to discuss history that hasn't been written yet. Presenting a broad selection of topics and challenges, the Summit is a unique opportunity for Alaskans to engage with Arctic world leaders in their home state and discuss Arctic development. Although such development is inevitable, there is an opportunity to shape it responsibly. Through conversation and engagement with the world's Arctic leaders, Alaskans will be in a stronger position to determine how future development decisions will be made. Alaska Dispatch 


losLaw of the Sea Treaty Heads Arctic Challenges for US. The melting polar ice cap is presenting both opportunities and challenges for the United States and other Arctic nations, as well as other nations with interests in the region. Arctic ice cover has declined consistently over the past few decades.  Increased accessibility, dubbed an "emerging maritime frontier" by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., presents a host of opportunities for oil and gas development, fishing, tourism, and transportation.  It also creates myriad challenges related to Arctic governance, marine safety, indigenous populations, scientific research, and environmental stewardship. This article reviews the state of play regarding claims to the Arctic and the U.S. Coast Guard's efforts to develop a strategy to meet its increasing responsibilities in the Arctic. MarineLink

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events    


healthmeetinglogo15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World; October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature.  


Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.

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