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July 17, 2013

The Senate will continue to vote to confirm a number of President Obama's nominations to the Executive branch, including Gina McCarthy for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.


The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) are co-hosting this symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice  and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and 

operations in the region.


The meeting is open to all. Registration is $175. DOD participants can register and pay for this without special approval. The meeting is co-sponsored by the DOD, and in your internal request document, we've been advised that you should indicate that this activity is a "Review of Arctic Change Impacts." For Navy personnel, this means that approval by the DoN/AA is NOT needed.


Among the many confirmed speakers are:

Alaskan Senators (Lisa Murkowski
and Mark Begich)
Murkowski Begich
USCG Commandant ADM Robert Papp & Navy Oceanographer RADM Jon White
Papp White 
NOAA's Acting Director, Kathy Sullivan, AK LT. Gov., Mead Treadwell, USARC Chair, Fran Ulmer, and Canada's Minister for Political Affairs, Sheila Riordon
SullivanTreadwell FranUlmerRiordon


Navy Oceanographer RADM Jon White addresses the Symposium
USCG Commandant ADM Robert Papp



Commemorating Bering Day, Murkowski Gives Arctic Address. Sen.
Murkowski's prepared remarks at the 5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations: 



"Good morning and thank you for the invitation to be with you for this symposium. On a warm and sticky day it is always a good thing to start off by thinking cool thoughts - Arctic ice. But as the title for this event notes, there is less of it these days. "According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, since 2000 the minimum sea ice extent in the Arctic polar cap has been cut in half and reached a record low last year. Perhaps just as importantly, the Norwegian Polar Institute - Norway's national institution for polar research - reports that the amount of multi-year ice has also been cut in half, and that multi-year ice is roughly the same thickness as first-year ice - right around two meters. The NPI suggests that when multi-year ice thickness equals first-year ice thickness, an ice-free summer is on the horizon." Official Senator Murkowski Website  


Why Predicting Sea Ice Cover Is So Difficult: It's hard to pinpoint when the Arctic will be sea ice free in the summer. "Predicting Mother Nature is never an exact science. Weather forecasters can get it wrong, leaving people dressed for a rainy day high and dry. And the further out researchers try to predict things like air temperature or sea ice cover, the more uncertainty there is. But knowing 

how Earth's climate will react to natural and human-induced changes is important for governments and industry." National Geographic 


Researchers project ice-free Arctic by 2058. "A combined team of researchers from the U.S. and China has projected, using a climate simulation tool, that the Arctic will become September ice-free sometime during the years 2054 to 2058. The group has published a paper describing their methods and findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ice-free in this context refers to a time period during any given year-generally arriving in September after withstanding the heat of summer. Not long after scientists began to recognize that the planet has been heating up, many began to realize that a warmer planet would mean warmer temperatures in the Arctic-enough warming and the Arctic would eventually become ice-free during part of the year." 


Rasmuson Foundation awards $5 million to ANSEP. "Rasmuson Foundation Board of Directors announced on July 15 that the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) will receive a $5 million award as part of the Foundation's Tier 2 grant program. This $5 million grant makes up the largest single grant ANSEP has ever received. In addition, UAA has committed to providing increasing levels of support so that after five years the $1 million in annual funding from the Rasmuson Foundation will come from the University. The funds will support the ANSEP Institutionalization and Sustainability effort." ANSEP 


Arctic Terrain Poses Severe Challenge to Canadian Plans. "Logistics challenges are limiting Canada's ambitious Arctic military plans for building installations and resupplying forces in its vast, harsh northern region. Since 2006, the Canadian government has emphasized that it intends to greatly boost its military presence in the Arctic because the oil, gas and mineral resources there are critical to economic growth. 'Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic - we either use it or lose it,' Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in July 2007." Defense News 


Canada readies Arctic claim: Bid for huge offshore area now in critical phase. "Canada's bid to add an offshore area the size of the Prairies to its sovereign territory has reached a critical new phase, Postmedia News has learned. A 20-year federal scientific mission aimed at gathering and analyzing undersea geological data along Canada's Atlantic and Arctic continental shelves has essentially come to an end, giving way to the legal and diplomatic components of the high-priority project ahead of a December deadline to submit the country's claims to the UN. Led for years by Halifax-based Natural Resources Canada geoscientist Jacob Verhoef, the offshore mapping effort has now been wound up and prime responsibility for completing the submission handed to international law experts with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development." Ottawa Citizen 


New defence minister must make tough decisions. "As one of Canada's longest serving defence ministers, Peter MacKay had been at the wheel for just over six years. He successfully navigated defence through some of the most difficult and challenging waters in recent memory, such as ending the Afghanistan mission. And he has not only been a steadfast supporter of the troops, but an effective spokesman on their behalf. Just as important, he was very much out front on the promise of fleet renewal for the army, navy and air force as spelled out in the Harper government's 2008 Canada First Defence Strategy." CBC News 


Chinaflag Exploring China's Arctic icebreaker. "The recent decision of the Arctic Council to admit China and several other Asian states to observer status there represents an epochal decision for both Arctic and Asian affairs. China, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, and Italy all won observer status - the inclusion of so many observers from Asia highlighting the importance of these markets. This decision also means that Asian voices will be heard for the first time in decisions regulating Arctic use and commercial exploitation as that ocean becomes more accessible due to climate change. Indeed, a Chinese shipping company is planning China's first commercial voyage through the Arctic later in 2013." Asia Times 

New study explains surprising acceleration of Greenland's inland ice. "Surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster, according to a new study by scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. During the last decade, researchers have captured compelling evidence of accelerating ice flow at terminal regions, or 'snouts,' of Greenland glaciers as they flow into the ocean along the western coast. The new CIRES research now shows that the interior regions also are flowing much faster than they were in the winter of 2000-01, and the paper proposes a reason for the speedup." 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Appropriations - Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies marked-up its Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations bill, which will determine the funding for NOAA, NASA, and other agencies. The legislation would fund NOAA at $5.6 billion and NASA at $18 billion for the upcoming year, increases over this year of approximately $700 million and $100 million, respectively. A summary of the bill's priorities and provisions is available on the committee website here.
The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on "The Department of the Interior Operations, Management, and Rulemakings" featuring testimony from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Full coverage, including written testimony, of the hearing is available on the committee website. 

Future Events

"This month's guest will be 
Fran Ulmer, the Presidentially-appointed Chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission. As Alaskans know, Fran Ulmer has also been, at various times, the chancellor of UAA; the Lt. Governor of Alaska; an Alaska state legislator; and the mayor of Juneau. We'll brunch for 30 minutes, then give the floor to our speaker. Under the banner, 'What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic,' Commissioner Ulmer will address Arctic shipping, research, climate change, and oil-spill prevention and response--all followed by questions and answers from the audience."
**New This Week**

Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion on "The Benefits and 'Costs of Cold:' Arctic Economics in the 21st Century" featuring Alaskan Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell, Wednesday July 31, 2013, 3 p.m. (CSIS, Washington, D.C.). 

Alaska's Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell will 


discuss the future of economic development in the American Arctic at this upcoming event.


"A new CSIS Europe Program report, which will be released on July 31, examines the economic benefits of Arctic development and the financial and environmental costs of Arctic infrastructure development. It determines that for now, the U.S. gives greater weight to the costs of Arctic development than to its benefits. Lieutenant Governor Treadwell will offer his reflections on this new report."


Please RSVP to Matthew Melino at

"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."

101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 logo with background (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting agenda will be posted on the USARC website,, closer to the meeting date. 


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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