Arctic Update Header
March 14, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents  


The Senate resumes consideration of the continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of fiscal 2013.The House takes up a rule for floor debate that provides for consideration of a bill that would overhaul the workforce investment system. 
Russian CLCS Resubmission in Sea of Okhotsh. reports that On February 28, 2013, the Russian Federation submitted a revision to one part of its 2001 submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. This deals with an area in the Sea of Okhotsh beyond 200 NM from the coastal baselines. The Russian application claims that it is independent of the jurisdictional dispute regarding the Kurile Islands to the south of the Sea of Okhotsh and does not prejudice the determination of the maritime boundary between Russia and Japan in the waters south of the Sea of Okhotsh.  

   A link to the submission is available here.

   A table of the submissions of the limits of the Continental Shelf is available here. 


TreadwellTreadwell Announces Study of Arctic Marine Shipping. Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell announced yesterday a $200,000 multi-year study of Arctic marine shipping. He told a meeting a of the Arctic Parliamentarians in Washington, D.C. the project will be conducted by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The state Department of Commerce will pay for the research. KTOO


ChinaflagChina Spending More on Arctic Sea Route Research Than US. "China and India are already cooperating in Antarctica," Huigen Yang, director-general of the Polar Research Institute of China told Business Standard on the sidelines of the Arctic Summit, organized by The Economist in Oslo yesterday. "India has established its first research station at Svalbard in the Arctic. In Antarctica, it's close to the Chinese station. We look to regional cooperation with the Asian Forum of Polar Science, which is a network." "We want to take advantage of climate change," Huigen told the summit. China is now spending more on Arctic sea route research than the US, as does South Korea. Last year, it organized its fifth Arctic expedition. The main advantage is the saving of distances on trade routes. Business Standard


Forest Research Advisory Council. Recently, the Department of Agriculture published a notice in the Federal Register to express its intent to reestablish the Forest Research Advisory Council and request nominations. "The Council is being reestablished to provide advice to the Secretary of Agriculture on accomplishing efficiently the purposes of the Act of October 10, 1962 (16 U.S.C. 582a, et seq.), commonly known as the McIntire-Stennis Act of 1962. The Council also provides advice relative to the Forest Service research program, authorized by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1978 (95, 92 Stat.353, as amended; 16 U.S.C. 1600 (note)). Therefore, the Secretary of Agriculture is seeking nominations to fill six vacancies on the Council, and five additional vacancies that will occur when current appointments expire in December 2013." The Federal Register notice is available here.


Airship Scheduled to Tour Alaska This Summer. Eighty-six years have passed since an airship cruised over Alaska. But a Florida company, Skyship Services Inc., has announced plans to fly a 200-foot-long blimp to Anchorage and demonstrate its capabilities around Alaska this summer.According to an announcement from state Sen. Lesil McGuire, the Skyship 600 craft will be in Anchorage around the July 4 and return to the Lower 48 in September. Anchorage Daily News


Could Alaska's Mystery Seal Illness be Arctic Sunburn? It began in July 2011. Indigenous hunters in Alaska's Arctic noticed ice seals they rely on for food and other uses covered in oozing sores and losing hair. They were sick and some were dying. Ultimately, more than 200 ice seals turned up with similar symptoms, prompting the federal government to declare the phenomena an "unexplained mortality event," thus opening up research and funding and attracting science minds to try to solve the mystery. As of this month, despite the international group of scientists and researchers, no cause has been officially identified for the illness plaguing the ice seals. Alaska Dispatch 


State Puts Routine TB Screening on Hold. In the 1940s and 1950s, medical ships cruised the waters of southwest Alaska, trying to end an epidemic of tuberculosis that infected as many of 90 percent of the region's population. Doctors now face shortages of tuberculosis detection and treatment medicines even as the aftershocks of that 70-year-old epidemic infect Alaskans anew. "What we're having to do due to the national shortage is to ask people to put on hold some of the routine screening of at-risk people," said Dr. Michael Cooper, Alaska's deputy state epidemiologist. Anchorage Daily News


Snow DragonChina Plans First Commercial Trip Through Arctic Shortcut in 2013. A Chinese shipping firm is planning the country's first commercial voyage through a shortcut across the Arctic Ocean to the United States and Europe in 2013, a leading Chinese scientist said on Tuesday. Huigen Yang, director general of the Polar Research Institute of China, told Reuters that the trip he led last year on the icebreaker Xuelong, or Snowdragon, to explore the route had "greatly encouraged" Chinese shipping companies. "One commercial voyage by a Chinese shipping company may take place this summer," he said. The Maritime Executive


Warmer Climate Boosts Northern Crops But the Bad Soon Outweighs the Good. The international study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, analysed NASA satellite data and 30 years of land surface temperature records for 26 million square kilometres between the Arctic Ocean and 45 degrees north latitude. "Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more," Ranga Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment, said in a media release on the NASA website. PhysOrg


Coburn, McCain Take on Diminished Clout of Alaska, Hawaii. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma found no shortage of programs to disagree with in the stopgap appropriations bill being debated on the Senate floor that would fund the government for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year. But this is the first time that McCain enters the spending battle without either of his familiar sparring partners from non-contiguous states. Roll Call 


capitalSenate Panel Begins Considering Budget Resolution. The Senate Budget Committee, set to approve its first budget resolution in three years, began consideration Wednesday of a plan that would call for replacing sequestration while reducing the deficit by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an even split of tax revenue and spending cuts. Panel members gave opening statements Wednesday. Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray later said on the Senate floor that the committee would consider many amendments and approve the measure Thursday evening. Floor consideration of the budget resolution is expected next week, pending the conclusion of floor action on a continuing resolution (HR 933). Congressional Quarterly 


Senators Look to Finish Stopgap Spending Bill. Senate Democratic leaders moved Wednesday to expedite consideration of legislation to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, with the goal of passing the measure Thursday. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed a procedural motion to limit debate on the underlying bill (HR 933) as well as a substitute amendment by Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski , D-Md., and the chamber's top GOP appropriator, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. Congressional Quarterly


Senate Appropriators are Stingier to Environmental, Interior Programs. The Senate fiscal 2013 spending measure would provide substantially less money than the House bill for the EPA, Interior Department and Forest Service, including wildfire prevention and management programs. Overall, Senate appropriators would provide $779 million less for the programs through the end of the year than the House continuing resolution (HR 933). State and tribal assistance grants for environmental law enforcement and the Superfund cleanup program would each receive $40 million less under the Senate bill. Congressional Quarterly


SalmonFishing Interests Urge Lawmakers to Improve Data Collection. Fishing-industry stakeholders called on lawmakers Wednesday to improve the process that the government follows in collecting and sharing the scientific data needed for fisheries management. Critics of the flagship U.S. fisheries law (PL 109-479) say that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries agency has lagged on providing commercial and recreational fishermen with timely and accurate data on various fish stocks. Congressional Quarterly


AFN Announces 2013 Convention Theme and Keynote Speaker. "This year's Convention theme recognizes our rich culture as Alaska Natives and the importance of family" says AFN President Julie Kitka. "AFN is very pleased to announce our keynote speaker Nelson Angapak. Nelson is one of our own and has been with AFN since 1975 as a Board Director, Chairman of the Board, and as staff. Nelson will be retiring from AFN later this year after 35 years of working within the Alaska Native community. We are honored to have Nelson be our keynote speaker and glad we can honor the invaluable work he has done for the Alaska Native community".  Nelson is currently the Senior Vice President of AFN and has been with AFN since 1975 as an AFN Board Director, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AFN from 1979 - 1980 and various staff positions including Special Assistant, Executive Assistant, and Vice President. Nelson served as President and Vice President of Calista Corporation from 1980 - 1988 and worked in Calista Corporation's land department for more than 10 years. Alaska Native News

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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