Arctic Update Header
 February 26, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense. The House is expected to consider a measure under suspension of the rules.


Coast Guard Mission Balance, Today (Washington, D.C.) Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee (Chairman Hunter, R-Calif.) of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on how the U.S. Coast Guard allocates personnel and resources among its multiple missions, as well as how the service measures mission performance.


NOAANOAA's Coast Survey Plans for New Arctic Nautical Charts: Less Sea Ice and More Ship Traffic Means New Charts Needed for Safety. NOAA's Office of Coast Survey has issued an updated Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, as a major effort to improve inadequate chart coverage for Arctic areas experiencing increasing vessel traffic due to ice diminishment. The update came after consultations with maritime interests and the public, as well as with other federal, state, and local agencies. "As multi-year sea ice continues to disappear, vessel traffic in the Arctic is on the rise," said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, NOAA Coast Survey director. "This is leading to new maritime concerns about adequate charts, especially in areas increasingly transited by the offshore oil and gas industry and cruise liners." NOAA

Should Alaskans Be Worried About 'Arctic Hysteria?' Arctic populations already know about many of the physical health issues they risk by living in one of the world's most extreme environments; vitamin deficiencies, frostbite, hypothermia. Some of the mental health risks are also well documented, including depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Unknown to many, however, is a rare, more extreme disorder dubbed pibloktoq, or 'Arctic Hysteria." Said to cause brief periods of erratic sometimes disturbing behavior, the disorder is even recognized by American Psychiatric Association in its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," the handbook commonly used by US mental health professionals in summarizing various issues among patients. Alaska Dispatch


Polar bearForging Uneasy Peace Between Polar Bears and one Arctic Hamlet. For the first time in at least three years, the community of Arviat in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut has had no polar bear defense kills. The predominantly Inuit community of 2,800 people has long been plagued by the increasing number of rogue polar bears in the community. No one is sure why the animals are coming into the community more than usual. Alaska Dispatch


Former Lawmakers and Officials Call for Federal Backing of Climate Programs. Lawmakers were urged Monday to maintain funding of global climate change mitigation and adaptation programs despite the budget deficit. Public and private partnerships are essential to stability in nations and regions susceptible to climate-driven disruption, former government and military officials wrote in an open letter to members of Congress. Those signing the letter include 16 former lawmakers, such as recently retired Sens. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., and Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., and former Cabinet-level officials dating back to the Nixon administration. Congressional Quarterly


canadian flagCanadian Spacecraft to Hunt Asteroids and Russia's System to Warn Against Incoming Space Hazards. The primary payload of the newly launched NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), to be operated by the Canadian Space Agency, is a 15-centimetre telescope to look out for asteroids and space debris. Unfortunately though, NEOSSat is unlikely to have been able to see the meteor that exploded near Chelyabinsk, even if it had been launched in time. That particular body is estimated at around just 17 meters, considerably smaller than the one that caused the famous Tunguska event and is typical of a little-known, but numerous family of tiny space bodies. Fortunately, however, such events are rare and, to the best of our knowledge, occur mostly in less uninhabited planetary regions. The more frequent and potentially dangerous space hazards are man-made, and precisely what the new Roscosmos system will aim to prevent. Voice of Russia

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

Challenges for Science Agencies, February 28, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on challenges faced by science agencies. The Subcommittee will consider the Inspectors General report.


Environmental Protection in the Arctic, March 1, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska. The Canadian Consulate General in Seattle will host a discussion of environmental protection issues with David Hik, President, International Arctic Science Committee, University of Albert; Fran Ulmer, Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission; and Lilian Alessa, Director, NSF Alaska EPSCoR Program. The event will be held at Rusmuson Hall 101, the University of Alaska Anchorage campus at 5pm. 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.


US-Canadian Arctic Roundtable, March 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The event is hosted by the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER). The roundtable will provide an opportunity for regional stakeholders to learn more about the role of our Federal Governments in the Arctic and the potential impacts on Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. A remarkable group of participants and speakers will join the roundtable including, Alaska's U.S. Congressional Delegation and several legislators from PNWER jurisdictions.  They will be joined by Ambassador Gary Doer, Government of Canada and representatives from the U.S. State Department; and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will attend as well. As PNWER's Arctic Caucus continues to look for solutions to the shared challenges of its three jurisdictions, this meeting will present an opportunity for caucus members and federal representatives to have a dialogue about key priorities for Arctic policy and economic development. The Roundtable will be moderated by Matt Morrison, PNWER Executive Director.


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.


Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, March 12-13, 2013, Washington, D.C. The Standing Committee of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will hold its next meeting in March. One of the main priorities of the Standing Committee was originally to support the establishment of the Arctic Council. The new organization, representing the eight Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA) and the European Parliament was founded on 19 September 1996. Since then the Committee has worked actively to promote the work of the Council. The Committee participates in the meetings of the Arctic Council as an observer.


28th 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.


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.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


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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