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July 29, 2013


The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is conducting a survey "to better understand how recent U.S government policy is impacting your science. Specifically, how will sequestration and/or government travel restrictions affect your ability to conduct research, attend conferences, and participate in AGU activitiesThis is a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in March 2013, which was distributed via AGUniverse. This information will help us to communicate more specifically with policy makers and to support and facilitate your full participation in AGU volunteer activities and meetings."

Sensitive information: A peek inside the next IPCC assessment. "'That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,' said Yvo de Boer recently. He is a former United Nations chief climate negotiator and was talking about the forthcoming fifth assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With two months to go before the assessment is to be published, however, one sign suggests it might be less terrifying than it could have been. The sign in question is about climate sensitivity. This is the measure used by researchers of how much they expect the world's average temperature to increase in response to particular increases in levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to one table from the unpublished report, at CO2 concentrations of between 425 parts per million and 485 ppm, temperatures in 2100 would be 1.3-1.7C above their pre-industrial levels. That seems lower than the IPCC's previous assessment, made in 2007. Then, it thought concentrations of 445-490 ppm were likely to result in a rise in temperature of 2.0-2.4C." The Economist  


Methane Hydrate - Click to visit USGS video on gas hydrates


Arctic methane credibility bomb. "Jason Samenow's posts at the Washington

Post's Capital Weather Gang blog are always valuable reading. But he has outdone himself

with a new piece helpfully laying bare the glaring problem at the heart of a much-discussed commentary in this week's issue of Nature calculating how many trillions of dollars in economic costs would attend a burst of methane emissions from the warming Arctic." NY Times 



Scientists envision fracking in Arctic and on ocean floor. "Scientists in Japan and the U.S. say they are moving closer to tapping a new source of energy: methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas found in Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of oceans. At room temperature the crystal gives off intense heat, earning it the nickname of 'fire in ice,' and making the estimated 700,000 trillion cubic feet of the substance scattered around the world a potentially major fuel source, containing more energy than all previously discovered oil and gas combined, according to researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey." Wall Street Journal 


Global energy experts to discuss pivotal Alaska issues this week. "Issues that could change Alaska's course in the next few years will take center stage at an annual meeting of global energy experts gathering in the 49th state for the first time. For four days starting Sunday, the 32nd gathering of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics will cover everything from the latest icebreaker technology and Arctic development to renewable energy and opportunities Alaska might have for opening the lid on its vast natural gas fields." Alaska Dispatch 


Opinion: Gangplank to a Warm Future. "Many concerned about climate change, including President Obama, have embraced hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. In his recent climate speech, the president went so far as to lump gas with renewables as 'clean energy.' As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not 'clean.' Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a 'bridge' to a renewable energy future - it's a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy." NY Times   



Harper's focus for North shifts from sovereignty to development. "At first, it was all about sovereignty, but Ottawa's focus for the North has changed. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make another trip north this summer as the government's military rhetoric has been replaced with talk of development. And the northern premiers have a wish-list for him: Yukon is pushing for an investment in power generation, the Northwest Territories wants housing transfer cuts reversed and Nunavut is pushing for devolution, or province-like power." The Globe and Mail 


Murkowski, Landrieu federal offshore revenue sharing plan faces cold front. "As Arctic and Southwest Alaska communities contemplate the resources needed to create a safe and efficient network to accommodate increased shipping traffic and offshore oil and gas development in northern waters, work is underway to provide some funding for that effort. But the effort isn't supported, at this point, by the federal administration." Alaska Dispatch 


Think tank: Ottawa must build marine transport system in Nunavut. "Ottawa must begin working towards the creation of a new marine transport corridor in Nunavut as an act of nation-building, a researcher with an Ontario-based think tank said, following a conference this past May in Iqaluit. 'The federal government, in collaboration with stakeholders and in support of its jobs and growth agenda, should develop an 'Arctic Maritime Corridors and Gateways Initiative,' starting modestly,' said John Higginbotham, a senior fellow at The Centre for Intl' Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont." Nunatsiaq Online 


Refurbished Amundsen sets out on 10th Arctic science mission. "The Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker Amundsen set out from Quebec City for the Arctic July 26, on its 10th anniversary mission as a science vessel. The ship leaves Quebec on its first Arctic mission following major repairs, including replacement of its engines and upgrades to shipboard systems and equipment, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said. This marks the 10th year for the Amundsen's dual service as a science vessel in the North during the summer and fall seasons, and as an icebreaker and escort ship in the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the winter months." Nunatsiaq Online 


Arctic Fibre ramps up cable project with seven-community Nunavut tour. "If you live in one of the seven Nunavut communities that lie close to Arctic Fibre Inc.'s proposed marine fibre optic cable backbone, you'll get a chance next month to learn more about the company's plans and share your knowledge of potential landing sites for cable spurs. '[W]e want the benefit of the local communities' expertise with regard to ice conditions and the most suitable location away from anchorages and any environmentally-sensitive areas and habitat,' Doug Cunningham, Arctic Fibre's CEO, said in a news release." Nunatsiaq Online 


Iqaluit Coast Guard office maintains pan-Arctic vigil. "Out of a small station in Iqaluit that looks out onto Frobisher Bay, a team of 11 Coast Guard staff oversee ship traffic throughout all of Canada's vast expanse of Arctic waters. 'Until about 20 years ago, we had maybe 15 stations in the Arctic,' says Jean-Pierre Lehnert, who heads up the Marine Communications and Traffic Services office in Iqaluit." Nunatsiaq Online 


Barge collides with docked Coast Guard cutter in Cordova. "An Alaska Marine Line barge smashed into the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore on Sunday morning while the vessel was moored at the Cordova Harbor. The tug the Krystal Sea was maneuvering an attached barge, Cordova Provider, into a spot in the harbor when the front part of the barge struck the cutter around 7 a.m. Sunday. The ship was arriving from Whittier with 4 people onboard at the time of the accident. The Sycamore, a 225-foot buoy tender, suffered damage to its port bow during the accident. The above photo 'gives you the extent' of the damage, Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Allie Ferko said, but couldn't put a price tag on it." Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will markup S.1344, the Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013 (Begich, AK). S.1344 "would supplement the nation's research capabilities in the rapidly changing Arctic by giving the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC) authority to institute a research grant making program and would also take advantage of the expertise of the Presidentially-appointed USARC, and its working relationship with Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, to supplement and better coordinate Arctic research priorities.  No funding is authorized in this legislation.  A funding mechanism for such a program will be pursued under separate legislation."


For more information, you can view S.1344 the bill text and summary. You can also view tomorrow's markup by visiting the committee website.


Future Events


**Revised day and time**


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, Tuesday July 30, 2013, 9-10:30 a.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. An meeting agenda is now posted on the USARC website,
You can also view the 101st Commission Meeting announcement in this entry at the Federal Register.


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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