Arctic Update Header
August 15, 2013
Institute of the North's "Week of the Arctic" August 12-18, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops are held as part of the Week of the Arctic, varied in form to reach different audiences and achieve multiple goals. The Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award dinner is the signature event for the Week of the Arctic. In recent years, the Award has been given to Red Dog Mine (2012) and Jacob Adams (2011). The award was created in 2000 to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions toward sustainable development in the Arctic. Join us as we present CH2M Hill this year's Award. The Week of the Arctic culminates on Sunday, August 18 with a champagne toast in celebration of the Governor Walter J. Hickel Day of the Arctic."


The House of Representatives and the Senate remain on August recess.




Alaska LNG could prove just the right fit for Asian markets. "Alaska North Slope gas exported to Asia could hold a key attraction over other U.S. LNG exports: The Alaska gas would burn hotter. To adopt the gas industry's jargon, Alaska's liquefied natural gas would be somewhat 'wet' or 'rich' compared with the 'dry' or 'lean' gas other U.S. liquefaction plants will process into LNG." Alaska Dispatch

Record heat wave bakes northern Canada, too. "Historically high heat during the past week has led to broken temperature records in all three of Canada's northern territories but residents aren't complaining. Temperatures across Canada's three territories have been about 10 degrees above normal this week. In some communities, like Kugluktuk, Nunavut, it has been even more remarkable: temperature records were set for six consecutive days." Alaska Dispatch 


What the melting Arctic means for the world's economy. "Less Arctic ice represents economic opportunity to some executives and governments. The Arctic contains an estimated 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas and 13 percent of undiscovered oil. This means tempting short-term economic benefits to Arctic regions, especially with the increased feasibility of new shipping routes. Lloyds of London estimates that 'investment in the Arctic could reach $100 billion within 10 years.'" Green Biz 


Council gears up for Arctic meetings in Unalaska. "[The Unalaska City] Council made quick work of their agenda at last night's meeting, and focused on planning for big visits from Arctic policy groups... [The] Council decided to postpone their August 27 meeting because it falls during a busy week for Unalaska. Scientists, lawmakers, and oil industry representatives from the United States Arctic Research Commission and the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission are coming in for back-to-back summits." KUCB 


The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held August 26-27. Draft Agenda


Arctic survey frustrates Greenpeace. "Environmental group Greenpeace accused the Russian oil industry of ignoring the impact of resource surveys on marine life. Greenpeace said it's trailing an oil exploration vessel contracted by Russian oil company Rosneft to conduct seismic surveys in the northern Russian waters of the Barents Sea." UPI 


Putin's blurred Arctic vision. "The Arctic touches deeper feelings in the Russian political mind than just greed for resources or fear of military threat. Beneath typically grandiloquent rhetoric, there is a deep sense of belonging to the vast cold and clean spaces of the Far North, often translated into the desire to own them. This feeling involves many conflicting aims, which Russia's Arctic Development Strategy 2020, approved by President Vladimir Putin in February this year, seeks to tie together. Unfortunately, it lapses into bureaucratic platitudes." Moscow Times 


Anchorage Democrat French considering run for governor. "State Sen. Hollis French, a West Anchorage Democrat and one of the most vocal critics of Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, announced Wednesday that he has filed the paperwork and is taking steps toward a possible run at the state's top job. As French stepped forward, another Senate Democrat from Anchorage, Bill Wielechowski, said he is considering a bid for lieutenant governor on an independent ticket with Republican Bill Walker. Wielechowski had been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for governor himself." Anchorage Daily News 


New chief shipbuilder mulls Arctic shift. "Andrey Dutov, newly appointed board chairman of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, Russia's shipbuilding mayor, proposes the establishment of an Arctic center responsible for research and design of specialized vessels and equipment. According to newspaper Kommersant, Dutov would like the new center to be part of the Krylov Institute, the design company which he himself heads." Barents Observer 


Why shipping via the Arctic is not so easy. "There are not many shipping stories that capture the attention of the general media, but one that did in the last week or so was the first Chinese ship to set out on a voyage from Dalian to Rotterdam via the Arctic. The story neatly combined shipping with geo-politics, a highly environmentally sensitive region of the world and climate change. News editors around the world duly reacted." Seatrade Global 





Behind the scenes on Google Street View: Canadian Arctic. "Do you recognize the camera on top of the new Trekker backpack? It's the same technology used in the Street View car. The Trekker can capture imagery of places only accessible on foot, like the snowy roads of Iqaluit. Nunavut resident Chris Kalluk invited Google Maps to Canada's Arctic to improve the online map of the area." Google

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday. 

Future Events


Arctic Drilling Safety Preparedness and Response: Mitigating Risks in a Tempestuous Environment to Achieve the Rewards of Safely Expanded E&P, August 15-16, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "The harsh and unpredictable climate of the Arctic territories has done little to deter the interest in oil and gas exploration. Particularly since it has been reported, "the U.S. Geological Survey estimates 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist below Arctic waters." While the risks are considerable, so is the reward. As a result, there has been a great surge in development plans and permit requests. However, in order to responsibly drill and extract these resources, oil and gas companies must have thorough safety plans in place, while fostering an environmentally conscious approach to operations. This premier marcus evans conference will carefully examine how to assess risks, develop thorough safety plans and culture, quell environmental opposition through accountable actions, prepare a successful response plan and overcome lack of logistical support."

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(Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska).  The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting's draft agenda is now available here.


You can also view the 101st Commission Meeting announcement in this entry at the Federal Register.




Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."


7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). "The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workshop on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics."


Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). 

"The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky." 


The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (Akureyri, Iceland).

 "The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal." 


The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). "The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism."


The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA) "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments.  


The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: 


Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland). "The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross-cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic."


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."

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