Arctic Update Header
October 18, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session. 


The National Science Foundation invites researchers applying to NSF to include in their proposals requests for funding that will allow principal investigators or senior doctoral students the opportunity to work at NOAA for up to one year.  The idea behind this innovative proposal is to involve researchers in the day-to-day decision-making of NOAA staff.  By doing so, we hope researchers get a better idea of the science we need to achieve our mission while allowing them the intellectual freedom to return to their universities and design research that makes best use of their skills and training. For more information, please see the National Science Foundation/ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Dear Colleague here.



budgetDemocrats Shops Plan to Impose Smaller Spending Cuts to Defer Fiscal Cliff. A leading Democratic centrist is floating a proposal to set aside $109 billion in automatic spending cuts slated to take effect next year and replace them with a "down payment" of about $75 billion in reductions along with an agreement to defer further cuts for about six months. Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, has been discussing his proposal with colleagues, including Mark Warner, D-Va. Warner is a leader of a separate bipartisan group of eight senators working to avert the fiscal cliff of spending cuts set out by the last summer's debt limit law (PL 112-25) and an expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, while still demonstrating a serious attempt to address the nation's debt. Congressional Quarterly


Boreal Forest Bends to Development, but There is a Breaking Point. Northern Alberta's boreal forest shows a surprising resiliency to human intrusion, but University of Alberta researchers warn the landscape has a definite breaking point. Science Daily


Arctic Ships Face 'Increased Cost of Ownership' in Separate Deal [Canada]. Canada's new patrol ships will cost more to maintain if National Defense signs a long-term service contract for the mini-icebreakers while the boats are under construction. Canada's new Arctic patrol ships will cost more to maintain if National Defense signs a long-term service contract for the mini-icebreakers while the boats are under construction. The ships are at least two years behind schedule, and could fall further behind if contract talks with the Irving shipyard building them hit a snag. Daily Business Buzz


BowheadBowhead Whales Lost Genetic Diversity, Study Shows. Arctic bowhead whales have lost a significant portion of their genetic diversity in the past 500 years, according to a new study to be published online Friday in the journal Ecology and Evolution. Scientists drew on hundreds of DNA samples from both living whales and samples obtained from vessels, toys and housing material made from whale baleen and preserved in pre-European settlements in the Canadian Arctic. Washington Post


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Russia to Build Its Own Offshore Platforms to Develop Arctic. Russia needs offshore platforms for the development of Arctic reserves. Now their production is located abroad - in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. In this regard, the authorities came up with the idea to create a center for the construction of offshore platforms. Russia has already undertaken to abide by strict environmental standards that require that the objects meet the highest reliability requirements. "Expert" magazine reported that half a trillion dollars will be invested in shelf designs. A significant portion of these funds will be spent on the creation of different types of drilling platforms. However, now Russian companies are capable of building only the base for such platforms, which means that foreigners will be earning on production of oil equipment for Russia. Pravda


Arctic Research Vessel Christened. A new $200 million tool for Arctic marine research is nearly complete at a Wisconsin shipyard. After the crack of a champagne bottle Saturday, the 261-foot Sikuliaq (see-KOO'-lee-ack) - named for the Inupiat word for young sea ice - slid from a steel cradle and bobbed upright outside the Marinette Marine Corp, facilities in Marinette, Wis. When the National Science Foundation vessel begins research missions in 2014, the Sikuliaq will fill a void in Arctic study that has become more noticeable with the profound recent melting of summer sea ice and accompanying northern activity, from offshore petroleum development and ecotourism to possible new trade routes. Peninsula Clarion 


canadian flag [Canada] DND Warns Clock Ticking on Surveillance Satellite. Canada runs the risk of having no space-based surveillance of its territory if the federal government can't deliver on its ambitious plan to launch a new constellation of satellites in 2014, the Defense Department is warning. The clock is ticking on the replacement of Canada's Radarsat-2 surveillance satellite, originally launched in 2007. Documents obtained by the Citizen show that DND has plans to build a new ground station in the Arctic next year and upgrade two others in preparation for the launch in 2014 and 2015 of a series of three replacement surveillance satellites, called the Radarsat Constellation Mission or RCM. But the Conservative government is still stalling on its commitment to the RCM satellites, which can conduct surveillance day or night and in all weather. Ottawa Citizen


North Slope Borough Takes Preventative Measures Ahead of Arctic Storm Surges: The North Slope Borough Mayor's office declares an emergency as the area is expecting storm surges upwards of 6 feet. The North Slope Borough Mayor's office declares an emergency as the area is expecting storm surges upwards of 6 feet. The declaration allows the borough to use funds to prepare for the high water levels. Crews are currently piling sand bags near critical infrastructure by the shore front including two pump stations for Barrow's water and sewer. An incident command team is working to build dikes and repair roads to protect power lines running along the coast. Borough officials say over the past weekend Barrow saw a 4 foot surge of water and it took out some roads and as much as 10-15 feet of shoreline bluff. Tuesday afternoon (10/16) crews were taking into consideration of what preventative measures could be utilized in other areas of town. Your Alaska Link


arctic shippingArctic Maritime Traffic Over Russia Breaks Last Year's Record. There's a month left before the onset of winter halts the Arctic maritime traffic between Europe and Asia, and already the number of cargo vessels traversing the Northern Sea Route this year is higher than last year's record haul -- another sign of global warming that could soon make this shipping lane a much busier route. Thirty-five cargo ships transported more than a million tons of goods -- mostly Russian petrochemicals -- through the mostly Russian-owned northeastern maritime passage, according to Barents Observer, an English-language publication in Murmansk, 830 miles north of St. Petersburg. International Business Times 


AK Native family drawingKuskokwim Fishing Trials, Subsistence Loom Large at AFN Convention. Max Olick knew the Alaska State Trooper who wrote him a ticket and took his 55-foot driftnet. As a Village Public Safety Officer, Olick helps troopers keep the peace in his hometown of Kwethluk in Southwest Alaska. But when other fishermen in the Lower Kuskokwim River village planned to fish for king salmon despite a state ban, Olick said he joined his neighbors in protest."I risked my job going out (for) something that I believe. The right to be out there and gather food for my family," Olick said in a phone interview Thursday from Kwethluk. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


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.  


Climate Change: The Arctic as an Emerging Market, October 29, 2012. As part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science and Society: Global Challenges series, Jed Hamilton, senior Arctic consultant with Exxon Mobil; Dr. Julieanne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Date Center; and Dr. John Farrell of the US Arctic Research Commission will discuss the Arctic as an emerging market.


Foreign Policy Panel Debate: "Is the Law of the Sea Treaty in the United States' Best Interests?" October 30, 2012. The American Academy of Diplomacy and the World Affairs Council cosponsor a panel discussion on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


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.


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.

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