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 February 12, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate resumes consideration of a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The House considers several measures under suspension of the rules, including bills on hydropower improvements and hydroelectric licenses and projects.


The State of the Union is tonight, 9:00 pm ET. The White House will stream the event here.



White House2014 Budget to be Released in mid-March, Memo Says. President Obama will not release his proposed fiscal 2014 budget for at least another month, according to a memo last week from Defense Department Deputy Comptroller John Roth. "We understand that the President intends to submit the top-level budget to the Congress in mid-March, with the delivery of all justification material later in the month," Roth said in a Feb. 5 memo to senior financial managers outlining the steps needed to wrap up work on DoD's portion of the request. Federal Times


Shell Oil Rigs in Alaska to be Repaired in Asia. Shell's two offshore rigs in Alaska are to go to Asia for repairs and upgrades, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said, casting doubts on its plan to do any drilling in Arctic seas this year. Shell said in a statement, issued late on Monday, that no decision had been made yet about its 2013 Alaska offshore drilling program. The Kulluk, the company's drillship which ran aground near Kodiak Island on 31 December after separation from its tow lines, will go to a shipyard in Asia, said Curtis Smith, Shell's spokesman in Alaska. "We haven't determined yet where in Asia," he said. The Guardian


"Arctic Flight" at Museum: Alaska's Aviation Story Finally Told. What is an Alaska bush pilot? That's perhaps the most important question asked-and answered-at the "Arctic Flight: a Century of Alaska Aviation" exhibition, which opened this weekend at the Anchorage Museum. Celebrating 100 years of Alaskan aviation history, the exhibit includes such artifacts as the 1928 Stearman C2B from the Anchorage Aviation Museum (which was dismantled and transported up three flights for display) that Harold Gillam flew in the search for Ben Eielson. There's also the first Alaska pilot license of Russ Merrill, for whom Merrill Field was named. Alaska Dispatch


canadian flagCanada's Only Arctic Fishery Threatened by Lack of Research. Fisheries scientists say Canada has been expanding its Arctic fishery without understanding very much about it. And that ignorance could threaten the future of the $65-million turbot fishery off Baffin Island, one of the few bright spots in the Nunavut economy. "There's just too much guesswork," said George Rose of Newfoundland's Memorial University, whose co-authored work released in January in Iqaluit was contracted by one of Nunavut's fishing corporations and an environmental group. Alaska Dispatch


Begich, Arctic Bill announcement Begich Introduces Key Arctic Bills: Strengthen Arctic Science, Health, Diplomacy. Strengthening America's understanding of changes underway in the Arctic, the impacts of Arctic warming on the health of northern residents and strengthening the nation's international presence in the Arctic are the subjects of three bills being introduced in the Senate today by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. "As we face an Arctic Ocean which is increasingly ice-free, our country has both an historic opportunity and enormous challenges," Begich said. "That's why we need to know more about the changes underway in the Arctic, what they mean for resource development and transportation in the North and how the changes impact people who live there." Senator Mark Begich

Sunlight Stimulates Release of Carbon Dioxide in Melting Permafrost. Ancient plant and animal matter trapped within Arctic permafrost can be converted rapidly into climate-warming carbon dioxide when melted and exposed to sunlight, according to a new study. In a report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of environmental and biological scientists examined 27 melting permafrost sites in Alaska and found that bacteria converted dissolved organic carbon materials into the greenhouse gas CO2 40% faster when exposed to ultraviolet light. Study authors said that while it remained unclear just how much CO2 would be released as Arctic permafrost continues to melt, the findings were cause for concern. High latitude soils currently store twice the amount of carbon than is found in the atmosphere. Los Angeles Times 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S.270 : A bill to amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs. (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


S.271 : A bill to improve Arctic health. (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


S.272 : A bill to promote research, monitoring, and observation of the Arctic and for other purposes. (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                      


Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.


Environmental Protection in the Arctic, March 1, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska. The Canadian Consul in Anchorage will host a discussion of environmental protection issues with David Hik, President, International Arctic Science Committee, University of Alberta; Fran Ulmer, Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission; and

Lilian Alessa, Director, NSF Alaska EPSCoR Program, University of Alaska Anchorage

Speaker TBC, Environment Canada. Email to RSVP.


Tufts Energy Conference, March 2-3, 2013, Medford, MA.Availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability: these "Four As" are at the core of global energy security. As energy demands increase around the world, the global community must balance the "Four As" while keeping up with need. Thanks to major innovations in extraction technologies, fossil fuels remain an available and affordable global asset. Yet climate change, geopolitical risk, and environmental impacts are changing the energy debate and challenging the acceptability of fossil fuels. In the short term, emerging green technologies often lack accessibility, availability, and affordability. TEC 2013 will explore how both developing and developed countries are working to meet their energy needs, manage geopolitical risk, and ensure energy security. Through six diverse but interconnected panels, TEC 2013 will address a number of pressing questions.


The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots). 


The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. 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. 


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. 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.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. 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.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association. 

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