Arctic Update Header
November 30, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider the STEM Jobs Act. The Senate will consider the Department of Defense Authorization.




capital Senators Brush Off White House Defense Bill Veto Threat. Senators appeared unconcerned Thursday by a White House threat to veto the defense policy bill they are considering on the floor, evidently confident they can get the legislation into a form that President Barack Obama would ultimately sign. The White House Office of Management and Budget announced that if the bill "in its present form" were passed, it would face a veto over restrictions on Guant?namo Bay detainees, the makeup of the armed forces, its support for certain weapons programs and other details. It was the second time the White House has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act this year. Earlier, it also issued a detailed veto warning about the bill that ultimately was passed by the House. Politico


House GOP Names Six to Appropriations Committee. House Republicans named six lawmakers on Thursday to join the Appropriations Committee in the next Congress, including two freshman and one member noted for helping to kill a popular defense project. Tom Rooney of Florida, who was first elected to the House in 2008, is perhaps best known for his role in helping kill an alternative engine for the F-35 fighter. For years, lawmakers were bitterly divided over whether the F136 engine was a necessary backup or a waste of money. Rooney - whose district contained a plant of Pratt & Whitney, the maker of the competing F135 engine - called the F136 a "luxury we simply cannot afford," and his 2011 amendment to cut the proposed $450 million for the second engine was adopted with the help of cost-cutting GOP freshmen. The underlying spending bill wasn't enacted, but the Pentagon canceled the program soon after that. Congressional Quarterly


parnell[Alaska] Parnell Budget Plan Includes Additional Public Safety Funds. Gov. Sean Parnell has released the first look at his budget proposal for the coming legislative session with details on continued funding for his ongoing fight against domestic violence. Parnell announced that the public safety budget will include an additional $14.8 million for his Choose Respect initiative to continue education, support and legal efforts. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Democrats Face Tough Decision on Top Appropriations Slot. The Democratic Caucus selected its leadership slate Thursday, affirming its commitment to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and her top lieutenants in elections that had been largely determined weeks ago. But the caucus now faces the task of filling the key spot of Appropriations ranking member, for which Reps. Nita M. Lowey of New York and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio are waging a closely fought race. The position is open because Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington is retiring. Normally the party defers to seniority for committee slots, although it has made exceptions, most notably in 2009 when Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California wrested the gavel of the Energy and Commerce Committee from Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, largely with Pelosi's blessing. Roll Call


House Dems Make Leadership Lineup Official. No surprises here, but the House Democrats on Thursday made their leadership lineup official for the 113th Congress. The leaders were unanimously chosen during a private caucus meeting: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn, Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, and Caucus Vice-Chairman Joe Crowley. Crowley, of New York, is the sole new member in Democratic leadership. Pelosi was nominated for her leadership post by fellow California Rep. Mike Thompson, and seconded by three other members: Rep.-elect Joyce Beatty and Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jan Schakowsky. Schakowsky called Pelosi the "most powerful woman in the world," according to an aide. Politico


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard Bill Resurfaces with Compromise Measure. A revised Coast Guard reauthorization bill the House plans to vote on next week is aimed at settling major disputes over scrapping ice-breaking ships, standards for what waste boats can dump and the operation of a coal-spewing ferry. House Democrats passed a bill (HR 2838) last fall that would have required the Coast Guard to decommission its only two heavy icebreakers and set a national standard for what ships can release into open waters, trumping the Environmental Protection Agency's current rules. After the Senate sent the bill back to the House without either of those mandates in September, lawmakers have been working on a compromise. Congressional Quarterly


Sea Trial Leaves Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear "Crushed Like a Beer Can." Shell Oil has been building and testing equipment designed for the Arctic Ocean here in Puget Sound. In September, a key test of underwater oil-spill equipment was a spectacular failure. It forced the energy giant to postpone drilling into oil-bearing rocks beneath the Arctic Ocean until next summer. Shell and its federal regulators have been tight-lipped about the failed test. But a freedom-of-information request reveals what happened beneath the surface of Puget Sound. KUOW


Shell Alaska Boss: 'There will be spills' Shell is one of a handful of companies exploring in Arctic waters and began drilling off Alaska this year. Environmentalists oppose drilling on the grounds a spill would devastate the environment. Asked what people were concerned about, Mr Slaiby told the BBC: "There's no sugarcoating this, it is [an] oil spill." "If you ask me will there ever be spills, I imagine there will be spills," he said. "Will there be a spill large enough to impact people's subsistence? My view is no, I don't believe that would happen." The Telegraph


arctic shippingArctic Voyages Rise Tenfold in Two Years. The number of vessels going through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) jumped from four in 2010 to 34 in 2011 and then to 46 this year, with petroleum products making up the largest part of the cargo transported, according to Barents Observer. This year the total cargo transported on the route is 1.3 million tons, up 53 percent from last year, including 894,079 tons of diesel fuel, gas condensate, jet fuel, liquefied natural gas, and other petrol products. Ship and Bunker


Professor Joins Arctic Commission: James McCarthy Noted for Expertise in Arctic Ecosystem. President Barack Obama has appointed James J. McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC). McCarthy joins the Honorable Edward Saggan Itta of Alaska as the only two new appointments to the independent federal agency. "James McCarthy has been recognized internationally for his fundamental contributions to oceanography and Arctic science," said Fran Ulmer, current chair of the USARC. "I am pleased that the president has appointed two extremely well-qualified individuals to the commission. Both gentlemen will undoubtedly bring great expertise and valuable perspectives to our work." Harvard Gazette

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

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. 


Monday, December 3
C13F - The Changing Cryosphere I Posters
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM; Hall A-C (Moscone South)  

Session includes: C13F-0705 - Seasonal-to-Decadal Predictions of Arctic Sea Ice: Challenges and Strategies
Jackie Richter-Menge; John Walsh; Katie Thomas


ISAC town hall meeting, right after the SEARCH Town Hall meeting that ends at 7:15. Moscone West Room 2010.  


Wednesday, December 5
GC33B - Links Between Rapid Arctic Change and Mid-latitude Weather Patterns I Posters
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM; Hall A-C (Moscone South)

Thursday, December 6
GC44B - Links Between Rapid Arctic Change and Mid-latitude Weather Patterns II 
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM; 3001 (Moscone West)

Conveners:James White; Jennifer Francis

Invited Speakers: Stephen Vavrus, James Screen, James Overland, Judah Cohen


Marine Mammal Commission meeting on Tribal Consultation, December 10-12, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with representatives of other federal agencies, Alaska Native organizations, the Environmental Law Institute, and other interested parties to review and seek ways to improve consultations between federal agencies and Alaska Native Tribes. The focus will be on the consultation process and will include, but not be limited to, matters involving marine mammals. In the course of the meeting, the Commission expects to discuss issues related to the authorities for Alaska Native consultations, the role of the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM) in consultations, the relationship between consultation and co-management, and lessons learned from conflict avoidance agreements. 


Marine Mammal Commission Meeting on Research and Management Priorities, December 14, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with regional management and scientific officials in each of the National Marine Fisheries Service's six regions to identify the most pressing marine mammal research and management needs. The Commission will use these meetings to develop a set of national priorities for guiding federal conservation efforts for marine mammals. Members of the public are invited to attend these meetings and to provide comments concerning priority issues.


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


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. 


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.

Go to ISCA Town Hall meeting, at the American Geophysical Union meeting, Moscone West Room 2010, right after SEARCH meeting that ends at 7:15 pm. 


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.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)