Arctic Update Header
November 19, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned and will reconvene next week.



WydenRon Wyden, Lisa Murkowski Read for Energy Partnership. Sens. Ron Wyden and Lisa Murkowski drew applause as they shook hands onstage Thursday - an early step in a partnership that could steer U.S. energy policy in unpredictable ways. "My friend, I extend my hand because we're going to work together," Murkowski told the Oregon Democrat, who's set to become chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Politico


More Fragments of Woolly Mammoths Found in Alaska. A find here and a find there is one thing. Put all those finds together and a picture starts to take shape. Such has been the case with evidence of creatures that once made their home on the southern Kenai Peninsula. The 2011 radiocarbon dating of two remains - an ankle bone and a tusk - indicated woolly mammoths roamed the area between 60,000-25,000 years ago. More pieces have surfaced and have been dated since then, thanks to the effort to gather these pieces together by local author and historian Janet Klein and Soldotna geologist Dick Reger. Anchorage Daily News


[Alaska] Oil Taxes Top Session Agenda, but Some GOP Lawmakers Say It's Time to Look at Social Issues. Republicans are looking to capitalize on their new found control of the Alaska Legislature, taking on oil taxes and raising social issues dear to more conservative members. This month's elections helped dismantle the bipartisan coalition that has ruled the Senate since 2007 and resulted in Republicans controlling both legislative chambers - and holding the governor's office - for the first time since 2006. Anchorage Daily News


shellShell Departs Arctic Until 2013. Shell Oil's drill rigs have departed the Arctic as of Nov. 7, with at least one of them headed for winter berthing in Unalaska, company representatives said last week. The Noble Discoverer, which was drilling the initial part of an exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea, headed south at the end of October as planned. The Kulluk, however, was delayed in its departure by rough weather. A story published in Popular Mechanics highlighted some of the challenges the Kulluk faced as it tried to demobilize from the Arctic. Helicopter transportation of crew from the rig was hampered by the weather, as was the refueling operation. The Arctic Sounder 


Oil Spill Response Workshop Convenes in Barrow. As a new era of oil exploration opens up in the Arctic, a New Hampshire research center has been initiating a dialogue about Alaska's oil spill restoration potential. The series of four workshops - beginning in 2010 in Anchorage - held its most recent meeting in Barrow this weekend, led by the University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center. The Arctic Sounder


Source of Increasing Mercury Levels in Arctic a Bit of a Surprise. A recent study shows more mercury is entering the Arctic Ocean - from a surprising source. Researchers from Harvard University were able to pinpoint higher levels of mercury deposited into the ocean at the top of the world, mostly from three major Russian rivers. Previously, most researchers thought mercury eventually found its way into the ocean through the atmosphere as a result of coal combustion. Alaska Dispatch


arcticcouncilCanada, Norway, Arctic Parliamentarians Want Russian Indigenous Org. Back at Arctic Council: "Our government supports the promotion of basic values - freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," says Aglukkaq. Ministers from Canada and Norway, along with Arctic Parliamentarians, want the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) back at the Arctic Council. Canadian officials will continue to monitor what happens to the RAIPON, says Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, also the federal minister responsible for the Arctic Council. That comment follows a recent move by Russia's ministry of Justice to suspend the operations of RAIPON, a move that came under fire at a meeting of the Arctic Council this past week in Haparanda, Sweden. Nunatsiaq Online


Strict Rules Await Travelers with Walrus Ivory, Baleen. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service CITES certificate. Don't leave home without it. Not if you're traveling overseas with art or jewelry made from walrus ivory and want to bring it back to America. Diane Kaplan of Anchorage found that out last month when she and her husband returned from a trip to Turkey via O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Rare White Humpback Whale Caught on Film off Arctic Coast. This just in: a rare white humpback whale was spotted off the coast of the Arctic archipelago Svalbard, according to the Daily Mail. Even though they're tempting, hold off on those Moby Dick quips. Melville's infamous scourge of Captain Ahab was a sperm whale. The all-white humpback whale was spotted by 32-year-old Dan Fisher, originally (and fittingly enough) from North Wales, while he was out on a boat crossing from mainland Norway toward the Norwegian islands that make up Svalbard. Fisher was able to capture pictures of the great white whale as well as a video. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events                      


Arctic Technology Conference, December 3-5, 2012. The burgeoning Arctic arena offers a host of opportunities for companies that can solve the complex environmental, physical and regulatory challenges it presents. ATC 2012 will include a highly specialized technical program, education courses, networking events, and an exhibition - all deisgned to help ensure that oil and gas professionals throughout the world are prepared to succeed in these challenging Arctic arenas.


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited. 


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: 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. Call for abstracts, due November 30, 2012. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.


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