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March 13, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents  


The Senate resumes consideration of the continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of fiscal 2013. The House considers a bill, under a closed rule, that would prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the work requirements for welfare programs.


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).


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 is holding a meeting today and tomorrow where 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.


Got marine debris...? There's an app for that. You can help keep our West Coast clean and safe by reporting marine debris via the Coastbuster app for the iPhone and Android. Use this app to report large, unusual, and potentially hazardous marine debris-especially items that may have been swept into the sea by Japan's devastating March 2011 tsunami, and heading towards Alaska and the US-Canada west coast.  Ocean Networks


4 Things to Invest in as the Arctic Ocean Opens. Global investors are looking north. "As an 'emerging market', the Arctic is hot right now," Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell told a meeting of Arctic nation legislators meeting in Washington today. Treadwell spoke on Capitol Hill about new investment opportunities in the Arctic in four major economic drivers: polar transport by air, sea and space; energy and mineral development; fishing; and tourism. Sit News


An Energy Coup for Japan: 'Flammable Ice.' Japan said Tuesday that it had extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate - sometimes called "flammable ice" - a breakthrough that officials and experts said could be a step toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source.

The gas, whose extraction from the undersea hydrate reservoir was thought to be a world first, could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves. That could be crucial especially for Japan, which is the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas and is engaged in a public debate about whether to resume the country's heavy reliance on nuclear power. New York Times


Arctic Map Preventing an Arctic Cold War. Just a quarter-century ago, and for millenniums before that, the Arctic Ocean was covered year-round by ice, creating an impregnable wilderness that humans rarely negotiated. Today, as the effects of global warming are amplified in the high north, most of the ocean is open water during the summer and covered by ice only in the winter. This unexpected transformation has radically altered the stakes for the Arctic, especially for the eight nations and indigenous peoples that surround it. But while there has been cooperation on extracting the region's oil, gas and mineral deposits, and exploiting its fisheries, there has been little effort to develop legal mechanisms to prevent or adjudicate conflict. The potential for such conflict is high, even though tensions are now low. New York Times


Sweden's Indigenous Sami: 'Protect Reindeer' or Pay Up. The Sami, an indigenous people living in northern Sweden, want higher compensation for their reindeer that are killed by other animals, reports Swedish Radio news. More than 5,000 bear, lynx, wolverine, and wolves are found in Sweden today. That's double the number of predatory wildlife from the time the reindeer compensation system was put in place in the mid-1990s. Alaska Dispatch


National Park Service Plans for Sequestration Cuts. National park supervisors are preparing to open roads later, close visitor centers, furlough park police and hire fewer seasonal workers to meet the 5 percent sequestration budget cuts under mandated by Congress and President Obama. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis issued a memo Friday stating that about 1,000 fewer seasonal workers will be hired this year, down from 10,000 last year. In a memo to Park Service employees, he said furloughs should be expected among park police, and that a $12 billion backlog in park maintenance will worsen. Federal Times


Alaska Wildlife Troopers Travel by Snowmachine to Spread Suicide Awareness. Traveling 1,500 miles by snowmachine across bush Alaska in March might sound like a vacation to some people, but for three Alaska wildlife troopers, it will be a full-time job for the next two weeks starting Sunday. For the second year in a row three state wildlife troopers will be touring rural Alaska villages by snowmachine to talk to Native youths and adults about suicide prevention in the bush. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Federal Agencies Tackle Climate Change. As Congress remains unwilling and unable to deal with climate change, federal government agencies - even without the blessing of lawmakers - have been thinking about, and quietly acting on, climate change for years. The Army Corps of Engineers, for instance, is building new levees, dams, buildings and other infrastructure to withstand higher sea-level rise and more extreme weather events. The Defense Department is making decisions about its current and future installations based on the expectation that sea levels will rise. And NASA has assessed its sites and is considering how to manage higher water at places such as Cape Canaveral, Fla. Roll Call


president signingWhite House: Budget Likely in Early April. The White House confirmed Tuesday that their budget would likely come the week of April 8, two months after the deadline mandated by law. White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the administration would "probably put out the budget the week of April 8" at his daily press briefing. It was the first time the White House has explicitly acknowledged the planned release, although congressional aides said last week that the White House was targeting April 8. The Hill


Defense Department Fights Climate Change on Two Fronts. Perhaps no agency has embraced climate change adaptation with as much enthusiasm as the Defense Department. Changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and a melting Arctic will affect every aspect of the military's mission, from base construction to troop deployment, the department says. As part of its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Defense Department recognized that climate change will affect the military in two broad ways: Infrastructure, including bases, may no longer be viable because of climate threats such as a rising sea level and melting permafrost; and climate change events, such as floods and droughts, could accelerate conflicts and instability in the world. Roll Call 


What did Alaska Lawmakers Learn at Energy Council Conference this Year? Alaska Legislators are slowly returning to work at the Capitol, following the yearly mid-session break to attend meetings of the Energy Council in Washington, D.C. In the past, lawmakers have cited the meetings as the source of critical information in guiding the state's economic plans. So what world-beating economic strategy did they stumble upon this year? Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

The National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board will convene a meeting of the committee that's studying this subject at the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks, to hear from Alaska-bsed experts in this subject. Topics to be discussed include physical oceanographic and terrestrial conditions, biological productivity, oil spill response (USCG, BSEE, AK DEC), and local community perspectives. The link above provides info on meeting logistics and agenda. Remote link-in to the meeting can be arranged. Contact Heather Chiarello,

Lecture: Melting Ice: What is happening to Arctic sea ice and what does it mean for us? March 20, 2013, Washington DC.
The National Research Council is sponsoring the 14th annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture, to be given by Dr. John Walsh of the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks. The lecture, which starts at 5:30 pm in the Baird Auditorium, in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (10th Street and Constitution entrance) is free, and open to the public, but pre-registration for planning purposes, would be appreciate. Please contact Pamela Lewis ( with questions.
 The 100th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Bethel. Additional information (agenda) is available at 


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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