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July 18, 2013

The Senate hopes to conclude voting to confirm a number of President Obama's nominations to the Executive branch. Confirmation of Gina McCarthy for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is still awaiting a vote.


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



Begich to Arctic Experts: U.S. Must Lead on Arctic Issues. "U.S. Sen. Mark Begich praised the progress made to support development in the Arctic during a speech today at the 5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations but warned the White House to redouble its efforts or get left behind as other countries prepare to stake their claims to Arctic resources.       


"'Humans have dreamed of the promise of the Arctic,' said Sen. Begich.  'They've explored the margins of the polar icepack in ships, and tried to push to the pole in dogsleds and balloons. ... But the changes we've seen over the past decade have made the Arctic more accessible in a way that others only dreamed about. And not unexpectedly, it's attracting interest from around the globe.  At this critical juncture, our nation has a responsibility to take full advantage of this promise and assert our leadership in the changing Arctic. That will take significant time, intelligence and investment.'" Official Sen. Begich Website


Greenland's ice cap melt rapid spread. "Summer melt on Greenland ice sheet had slightly late start this summer but the surface has been now melting very quickly. In the last three months the melt has been spreading rapidly over the significant area, extending over more than 20% of the ice sheet in early June and reaching above 2000 meters elevation in some areas." Arctic Portal 


Arctic Joule one tough craft but tough going is part of it. "This is the latest installment from the Vancouver-based Last First expedition, four men attempting to travel the Northwest Passage this summer in a 7.6-metre rowboat from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to Pond Inlet, Nunavut. They hope to reveal the shocking effects of climate change on the Arctic." Vancouver Sun 



Decreasing Ice, Increasing Risk: The New World of Arctic Tourism. "Alaska's glaciers are receding, and quickly. Some have moved as far as 70 miles in the past century alone. In the Arctic, average temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing much of the ice cap to thin or melt. NASA satellites show the permanent ice cover contracting by almost 10 percent each decade, and scientists predict an ice-free Arctic by the end of the century, just 200 years after Joe fought the elements there to survive. The effects reach beyond the Arctic as contracting ice accelerates global warming and changes climate patterns worldwide, but the danger there is both greater and more immediate." Huffington Post


Research Details Alaska's Role In Bird Migration. "The US Geologic Survey-with help from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Y-K Delta subsistence hunters- released research this month about Western Alaska's role as an international crossroads for migratory birds and how those birds transmit avian flu viruses between each other." Alaska Public Media 


NRL Scientists Study Connection Between Space Traffic and High Altitude Arctic Clouds. "Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have determined that there has been an increase in bright polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs) in the last two years, an unexpected result since these clouds are generally thought to be less prevalent during conditions of high solar activity which acts to destroy the tiny ice particles. Their research suggests that the man-made effect of water released by exhaust from space traffic during recent years has overwhelmed the effect of higher solar activity. This research was published in the June 6, 2013, issue of Geophysical Research Letters." U.S. Naval Research Lab 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Yesterday, following in the Senate's footsteps, the House 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 $4.9 billion and NASA at $16.6 billion for the upcoming year, decreases from this year of approximately $89 million and $928 million, respectively. It is important to note that, unlike the Senate's version, this legislation's total funding levels are below the sequestration level, preventing automatic across-the-board cuts. A summary of the bill's priorities and provisions is available on the committee website here.
Also yesterday, the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing on "The Department of the Interior Operations, Management, and Rulemakings" featuring testimony from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Among the topics of discussion were fracking regulations, Native American relations, endangered species listings, and off-shore drilling. 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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