Arctic Update Header
June 6, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will continue work on the FY 2013 Energy-Water appropriations bill. The Senate will consider pay discrimination.


Federal Research in the Arctic; A Five-year Plan, June 12, 2012-10-11am Alaska Time. At least 13 Federal agencies conduct research in the Arctic. Research by those agencies as well as State, local, industry, and non-governmental organizations is accelerating in Alaska and other parts of the Arctic. Coordination of the Federal efforts is the responsibility of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). The IARPC's Arctic Research Plan: FY2013-2017 focuses on research expected to benefit from interagency collaboration; considerable research conducted by single agencies is not included. The Five-Year Plan focuses on seven priority areas: sea ice and marine ecosystem studies; terrestrial ecosystem studies; atmospheric studies effecting energy flux; observing systems; regional climate models; adaptation tools for sustaining communities; and human health. This webinar will include a brief overview of the Five-Year Plan followed by comments and questions from participants. The presentation will also describe how to submit written comments on the Five-Year Plan (due by June 22, 2012). Anyone interested in Arctic research or in learning about the Five-Year Plan is invited to participate.
Click here to view the IARPC plan on the web


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russia/norway flagsArctic Fishing Policy a Source of Disagreement Between Russia and Norway. Researchers have called the territory of the Arctic Ocean shelf the largest oil and gas deposits on Earth. The Arctic countries plan not only to develop the hydrocarbon deposits, but also fishing industries. However, a good catch in the northern seas can lead to political problems. Potential hydrocarbon deposits above the Polar Circle are estimated at 90 billion barrels of oil and 47 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Nonetheless, the Arctic countries haven't forgotten about the fish resources. In the so-called Atlantic section of the Arctic Ocean, over a million tons of fish are caught annually. Six hundred thousand tons is Russia's share, which amounts to about 15% of all fish caught by Russia in the world's oceans. The Spitsbergen archipelago is one of the busiest areas in the region where, according to some sources, up to 460 thousand tons of fish and sea products are sourced on a yearly basis. The fish sourced in the area includes cod, haddock, pollack and Arctic cod. Russian fishermen catch about 170 thousand tons in that area. But not every voyage ends in success, says Alexander Savelyev, a representative of RosRybolovstvo (the Russian Fisheries Agency). The Voice of Russia 


ICC Canada Ponders its Future at Kuujuaq AGM, "We make connections abroad so that Canadian Inuit can benefit at home." ICC has two main concerns, Smith, said: to make sure Canadian Inuit have strong ties to Inuit in Russia, Greenland and Alaska and to represent Inuit rights internationally. "We make connections abroad so that Canadian Inuit can benefit at home. This is especially important because, as last week's announcement of high Co2 levels showed, challenges in the Arctic very often need to be addressed abroad. And we often call upon our Inuit cousins in other countries to help us," Smith said in his president's address. Nunatsiaq Online


caribouProtecting Birds and Caribou From Drilling in the Arctic. The name National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska might conjure images of desolate oil fields dotted with derricks. In fact this 22.8-million acre reserve in the northwestern part of the state encompasses a spectacular mix of Arctic ecosystems and provides critical habitat for a rich array of wildlife, from beluga whales and polar bears to caribou and millions of migratory birds, including increasingly rare species like the yellow-billed loon. The NPR-A, the largest tract of public land in the United States, also holds an estimated 896 million barrels of oil, according to a 2010 USGS analysis--one-tenth of previous estimates, and about the amount the country uses in six weeks. Yet despite its name, since the reserve from the Navy to the Interior Department 36 years ago, petroleum extraction is not its sole purpose. In 1976, Congress mandated that "maximum protection" be put in place for "surface values," like wildlife and fish, to balance oil production, including identification of no-lease areas. It also authorized protections for "special areas," or critical wildlife habitat. Audubon Magazine


Salazar, KenShell Permits Would Help U.S. Keep Pace in Arctic, Salazar Says. The U.S. is considering final permits letting Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean as the nation seeks to keep pace with Russia, Norway and Canada, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. Shell is closer to drilling as many as five wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas this year, after agreeing to build an oil-spill containment system and add precautions to protect native Alaskans and animals such as polar bears and walrus. Federal waters off Alaska's coast may hold 26.6 billion barrels of oil, according to a 2011 assessment from the Interior Department. "We know Russia is moving forward with a very significant exploration program," Salazar said today at a conference in Washington. "We know Canada has a huge interest in what's happening in the Arctic, and they are planning on moving forward. We are not to be left behind." Bloomberg 


Developing North American Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas: A Comparative Study- Part 1. Achieving a balance between preservation and development dominates most of the current Arctic debate. In this balance, the continued push for oil and gas exploration seems to be the most contentious interest, as it pits environmental concerns against economic interests. The decision of whether or not to develop new offshore areas for prospecting therefore encompasses not only energy issues, but also how the development of economic interests will affect indigenous people, the marine environment, regional development, climate change, and energy security. The most common explanations for increased interest in Arctic energy development in recent years include rising commodity prices, new technologies enabling cheaper Arctic operations, and increased accessibility due to the melting of the Arctic sea ice. Additional motivation for Arctic oil and gas endeavors has come from the depletion of more southern oil and gas fields in Alaska, Norway and Russia, and the mention of promising Arctic resource potential in the 2008 United States Geological Survey report. The Arctic Institute 


NOAANOAA: US, Europe Sign Agreement to Strengthen Scientific Cooperation on Climate, Weather, Oceans and Coasts. Top leaders from NOAA and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) today signed a landmark agreement that will further strengthen cooperative science activities in the areas of climate, weather, oceans and coasts. The signing ceremony also marked the launch of the first four environmental monitoring projects under the agreement. Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, and Dominique Ristori, Director General of the JRC, signed the agreement, which calls for exchanges of personnel, shared use of scientific infrastructure, support for joint research, access to laboratory facilities, scientific training and timely exchange of information. NOAA

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 3262, A bill to amend the Whaling Convention Act to require the Secretary of Commerce to authorize aboriginal subsistence whaling as permitted by the regulations of the International Whaling Commission and to set aboriginal subsistence catch limits for bowhead whales in the event the Commission fails to adopt such limits, and for other purposes. (Begich, introduced)

Future Events               


NASA to Hold Media Teleconference on New Ocean Discovery, June 7, 2012. NASA will host a media teleconference on Thursday, June 7, at 2 p.m. EDT to present research on a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters. The discovery is the result of an oceanographic expedition called ICESCAPE, or Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment. The NASA-sponsored mission explored the seas along Alaska's western and northern coasts onboard a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker during the summers of 2010 and 2011.


The Institute of the North hosts Arctic-related events. For details, go here. Three upcoming events, all in Anchorage, AK are: (a) Commercial Applications of Northern Airships, July 31-Aug 2, Federal Research: Priorities and Processes, August 13, and Northern Energy Technology and Science Fair, August 15.


15th 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


Arctic/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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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.   


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