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December 5, 2013







capital Today's Congressional Action: 

The House will consider several non-Arctic issues.  The Senate is in recess until December 9th.



budget OMB Chief 'Optimistic' About Budget Deal. Top Obama administration official Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Wednesday said she is "cautiously optimistic" congressional negotiators will reach a budget deal this month that would replace some of the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester. With current funding levels set to expire on Jan. 15, the lead congressional negotiators - Budget committee chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) - are under a Dec. 13 deadline to try to reach a deal setting new spending levels and replacing sequester cuts. Politico


Smithsonian Gets $1M to Save Endangered Languages. The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has received a $1 million grant to launch a long-term initiative to digitize and preserve recordings of endangered languages. The London-based Arcadia Fund is providing funds for the first two years of the project to digitize materials in the museum's National Anthropological Archives. The museum announced the grant Wednesday. Washington Post


Salmon Canadian First Nations Chief Lays Blame on Alaska Catch for Low Yukon Salmon Runs. Preliminary data indicates the 2012 Chinook salmon run on the Yukon River was the worst ever. The International Yukon River Panel is meeting in Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada's Yukon territory, this week to plan a management strategy for 2014. Federal Fisheries officials who represent Canada at the talks refuse to say how they plan to address the issue. Closed-door meetings were held Sunday and continued Monday with a public session beginning Tuesday. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Ocean Stores 58 Megatons of Carbon Each Year-As Long as It's Not Too Warm. It turns out that while we may be pouring out carbon dioxide, there's one place on Earth that's preventing this gas from reaching our atmosphere. The Arctic Ocean is slowly becoming more of a carbon sink, soaking up carbon before it can impact our climate. These findings have important implications for future climate models and the health of the Arctic ecosystem. Science World Report


Russian Delegation to Norway to Discuss Arctic Interaction. A delegation of the Federation Council upper house of Russia's parliament will arrive in Norway on Thursday for talks with the leadership of the country and Norwegian parliamentarians. Interaction in the Arctic will top the agenda. Valentina Matviyenko, who leads the delegation, noted "progressive development" of bilateral cooperation. Bilateral trade was worth $2.7 billion in 2012, with both countries stepping up investment cooperation, Matviyenko said. Voice of Russia


Shell in Chukchi Shell's Alaska Oil Comeback in Arctic Proposed for July Start. Royal Dutch Shell is back, baby! Well, maybe. The Netherlands-based oil giant has long said it would not return to offshore drilling in Alaska until it had fully learned its lesson following 2012, a mistake-riddled year that ended when Shell's runaway drill rig, the Kulluk, ran aground during a Gulf of Alaska storm. Alaska Dispatch


Federal Study Warns of Sudden Climate Change Woes. Hard-to-predict sudden changes to Earth's environment are more worrisome than climate change's bigger but more gradual impacts, a panel of scientists advising the federal government concluded Tuesday. The 200-page report by the National Academy of Sciences looked at warming problems that can occur in years instead of centuries. The report repeatedly warns of potential "tipping points" where the climate passes thresholds, beyond which "major and rapid changes occur." And some of these quick changes are happening now, said study chairman James White of the University of Colorado. Business Week


polar bear matt Polar Bear Population Could Drop Two-Thirds by 2050 - [Russian] Minister. The number of polar bears in the Arctic could drop by two-thirds by 2050 because of poaching, pollution and global warming, Russia's natural resources and ecology minister said Wednesday. Speaking at the International Forum on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Sergei Donskoi said that active industrial development in the Arctic in recent decades is one factor that has negatively affected the population of the beasts. RIA 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on yesterday.

Future Events


Alaska Policy Commission Meeting, December 9-10, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will convene to continue working on their draft of Alaska's Arctic Policy. This Preliminary Report will be submitted to the State Legislature on January 30, 2014 and will help guide the Commission's work in 2014 as they prepare to submit a final Report in January 2015. At the Anchorage meeting Commissioners will review and discuss draft Arctic policy statements, specific preliminary recommendations, and the supporting background document. See for a draft agenda and additional information as it becomes available.


Public testimony will be accepted Monday, Dec 9 from 11:15a-12:30p, limited to 3min. Supplementary written testimony can be emailed to

Meeting will be audio streamed live on


American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13 (San  Francisco, CA). The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the AGU logo geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to exchange information and broaden their knowledge base. In addition to the scientific programming, the meeting offers over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, including one on Monday, Dec. 9, titled, "Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) and Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), organized by Helen Wiggins, Brendan Kelly, and Hajo Eicken, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in 2018 Moscone West. 


Search the AGU meeting for Arctic-related research sessions here


** New ** Arctic Frontiers, January 19-24, 2014 (Tromso, Norway). Arctic Frontiers is an international arena addressing development in the Arctic. The conference discusses how upcoming opportunities and challenges may be handled to ensure viable economic growth and societal and environmental sustainability. Annually, the conference attracts more than 1000 participants from 25 Arctic and non-arctic countries, representing science, business, politics, and civil society. The theme of the conference is 'Humans in the Arctic'. As with previous years the policy section will run for the first two days, followed by three days of science. The science section will have four parts under 2 main headings: Health, Society and Environment; and, Maritime Operational Challenges. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014 (Anchorage, Alaska). The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


The goal of the Arctic Encounter Symposium is to engage participants in a focused discussion, through a balanced forum, highlighting shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community as we look north to the last emerging frontier - the Arctic. The Symposium will incorporate a diverse group of leaders and experts to debate how a rapidly changing Arctic will impact international law, domestic policy, business and commerce, the environment, and the people of the Far North. Speakers include policy makers, industry leaders, scientists, and academic experts. The two-day Symposium will take place at Seattle University School of Law with a dinner reception at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59. US Arctic Research commissioner Edward Itta is one of the speakers.


Arctic 2050, March 12, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium). The 4th European Marine Board Forum will bring together Arctic stakeholders from multiple sectors (science, industry, policy & governance, NGOs, etc.) to: discuss current trends and patterns of change in Arctic Ocean ecosystems, including human activity; identify possible "2050" scenarios for Arctic Change and the corresponding implications for human health and well-being; highlight key research gaps, needs and challenges in support of understanding, mitigating against, or adapting to Arctic change; stimulate dialogue across sectors to aid common understanding, collaborative actions and sustainability targets; promote a vision for a sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean by 2050.


44th Annual International Arctic Workshop, March 14-16, 2014 (Boulder, CO). The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014 (Tampa, Florida).  Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11 (Helsinki, Finland). ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


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."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
Abstract Submission Deadline: November 17,  2013

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 23-30, 2015 (Toyama, Japan). ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. IASC's (International Arctic Science Committee) 25th anniversary will be celebrated during ASSW2015. The summit presents an opportunity to review IASC contributions and recognize those who have been instrumental in its founding, development and growth. ASSW2015 will also include the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) and the 4th International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4). These four-day symposia create a platform for exchanging knowledge, inspiring cross fertilization, and promoting collaboration. The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals from all over the world.

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