Arctic Update Header
March 5, 2013

Today's Eventstodaysevents  


The Senate considers a resolution to authorize committee expendituresfor the remainder of fiscal 2013. The House considers two measures under suspension of the rules: one that would require the president's budget to provide an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit and the other on tobacco smuggling in U.S. 




EPA McCarthy Confirmation Viewed as Likely After Debate on Emissions Policy. President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the EPA during his second term is familiar to many on Capitol Hill, has some bipartisan credentials from past stints in New England state governments and was previously confirmed by the Senate for her current post as head of the agency's air office. But Gina McCarthy's nomination will nevertheless provoke debate on energy and environmental policy. Roll Call


Obama's Latest Cabinet Nominees Could Face Hill Delays. President Barack Obama pushed for quick Senate confirmation of his new picks for budget director, EPA administrator and Energy secretary - although the nature of the positions themselves all but ensures plenty of partisan fireworks on the Hill. Obama's three picks all have long résumés for their jobs - Office of Management and Budget nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell served as deputy director in the 1990s under Jacob J. Lew and now runs the Walmart Foundation; EPA pick Gina McCarthy is currently assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation; and Energy pick Ernest Moniz, a prominent MIT physicist, served as an undersecretary under President Bill Clinton. Roll Call


redoubt volcanoErupting Volcanoes Offset Recent Earth Warming. A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth's surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. Alaska Native News


Culturally Relevant Learning. Two plus two equals four no matter where you come from, but how you learn math or the other core subjects may be different for each of us depending on the world in which we live. For Alaska Native students, curriculum and methods developed for city kids may not work as well as lessons that are culturally relevant. On the next Hometown, Alaska Charles Wohlforth hosts educators working to make learning work across cultures discuss these challenges on today's show. Alaska Public Radio


Poverty Affects American Indians and Alaska Native Populations More Than All Races. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its American Community Survey that measured poverty rates by race from 2007 to 2011. Two race groups exceeded the national poverty rate of 14.3 percent by more than 10 percentage points: American Indian and Alaska Natives at 27 percent and black or African-American at 25.8 percent. Rates for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders were also above the national rate at 17.6 percent, while rates for people who identified as white and Asian were lower than the overall poverty rate at 11.6 and 11.7 percent respectively. Indian Country Today 


arctic shippingUS Study Foresees Big Spike in Arctic Shipping by Mid-Century: Region will become 'much more accessible than ever imagined.' Amid revelations this week that Canada's military is being forced to decrease its presence in the Arctic because of federal budget cuts, a U.S. study on thinning polar ice has produced the first maps showing predicted new shipping routes through Canada's Northwest Passage, Russia's Northern Sea Route and even directly across the North Pole. Two UCLA researchers using a series of climate-change forecasting models to generate their data have concluded that the polar region will become "much more accessible than ever imagined," and that the expected spike in ship traffic in the coming decades will add greater urgency to efforts by Canada and the U.S. to resolve their long-standing jurisdictional disagreement over the main transit corridors through Canada's Arctic islands. Ottawa Citizen


Enormous Prehistoric Camel Roamed Arctic. Remains of an extinct, giant camel have been unearthed not in a desert, but in the High Arctic, according to a Nature Communications report. It's the furthest north camel remains have ever been found and this one was on Ellesmere Island. The camel was also likely at least 30 percent bigger than camels are today. If you think of that in human terms, it would be roughly like an average-sized man standing about 8 feet tall, so these were some big camels. Discovery News


begichBegich Urges Legislators to Invest in Deepwater Ports. As the Alaska state legislature starts its budget hearings, Sen. Mark Begich is offering his own request: Put $2 billion toward ports infrastructure. "A system of deep-water Arctic ports across the region will expedite oil and gas development, expanding fishing and mining." Begich made his request on Monday, during his annual address to the legislature. He says that money would be matched by $3 billion in federal loans, if his bill to create an Arctic port authority passes Congress. Right now, the closest deepwater port to the Arctic is one thousand miles away in Dutch Harbor. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently looking at how feasible it would be to build one in Nome or Port Clarence. KTOO


Faced With High Costs, Defense Department Scales Back Arctic Presence: Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre Planned for Resolute Bay Victim on Budget Cuts. The planned Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre in Resolute Bay has landed on the chopping block as the Canadian army copes with a 22 per cent cut that will take its budget from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion by 2015. That's according to documents leaked to the Ottawa Citizen, which reported the military has confirmed the Resolute Bay project will not proceed. Nunatsiaq Online

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

Come hear a COL panel involving Brendan Kelly (OSTP), Joel Clement (DOI), Frank Herr (ONR), Michael Kearns (National Ocean Industries Assoc.) and Bill  Mowitt (Staffer, Sen. Begich) discuss this topic, moderated by John Farrell (USARC). This panel is part of the 2013 Public Policy Forum sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


US-Canadian Arctic Roundtable, March 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The event is hosted by the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER). The roundtable will provide an opportunity for regional stakeholders to learn more about the role of our Federal Governments in the Arctic and the potential impacts on Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. A remarkable group of participants and speakers will join the roundtable including, Alaska's U.S. Congressional Delegation and several legislators from PNWER jurisdictions.  They will be joined by Ambassador Gary Doer, Government of Canada and representatives from the U.S. State Department; and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will attend as well. As PNWER's Arctic Caucus continues to look for solutions to the shared challenges of its three jurisdictions, this meeting will present an opportunity for caucus members and federal representatives to have a dialogue about key priorities for Arctic policy and economic development. The Roundtable will be moderated by Matt Morrison, PNWER Executive Director.


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).


The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.


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 will hold its next meeting in March. 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.


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.


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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