Arctic Update Header
November 5, 2013


The House is not in session. The Senate will consider employment legislation.


Ocean Acidification: Perceptions, Risks and Uncertainties, November 5, 2013. (Webinar) The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) will host the webinar. The webinar will be presented by Jeremy Mathis from the OceanAcidification Research Center at UAF and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. 



ICC Greenland Shocked at Proposed Funding Cuts. Greenland's proposed budget for 2014 cuts annual funding for the Greenlandic branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) from 5.4 million Danish kroner ($1 million) to 1.4 million Danish kroner. Aqqaluk Lynge, the president of the international ICC organisation, said he was deeply shocked when he saw the proposed cuts, but if one member of Greenland's parliament gets his way, Lynge's sense of shock may turn into panic. Arctic Journal


Fish Wars: Faroe Islands Fire First Shots. The Faroe Islands set the stage yesterday at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for the beginnings of its battle over EU trade sanctions on its fish quotas. The WTO said that the Faroes had made a formal request for consultations with the European Union over measures that restrict the entry into any EU port of herring and mackerel caught under the control of the Faroe Islands. Arctic Journal


Alcohol Abuse What Role Does Alcohol Play in Alaska's Soaring Suicide Rate? Half the time Alaskans kill themselves, they have been drinking. That doesn't mean alcohol causes suicide in Alaska. But it's an important figure when you consider that far fewer suicides nationwide -- only about one third -- involve booze. Why is the rate so much higher among Alaskans? Anchorage Daily News


Warming Autumn May Delay Western Arctic Caribou Herd Migration in Alaska. Temperature readings aren't the only things that have been out of whack in this unusually warm Alaska autumn. The annual southward migration of North America's largest caribou herd has also been late and unusual, biologists say. The Western Arctic Caribou Herd, with about 325,000 animals, apparently procrastinated en masse before starting the march from northernmost Alaska to its wintering grounds south of the Brooks RangeAlaska Dispatch


[Alaska] State Department Heads Come Together to Figure Out Alaska Food Security. In a small, gray Atwood Building conference room, half a dozen state commissioners passed around a surprising snack: An enormous bowl full of yellow, purple and bright orange Alaska-grown carrots. While carrots might not seem like the most expected snack for a high-level early morning meeting, it made sense Monday, when commissioners from various state departments came together in Anchorage to talk about one thing that ties all Alaskans together: food. Alaska Dispatch


Fighter Jets Train Over Baffin Island. CF-18 Hornet fighter jets and an air-to-air refueling aircraft were in the sky over some eastern Arctic communities recently. Canada's NORAD Region was conducting a training exercise over Labrador and Baffin Island. NORAD is a joint United States and Canadian command that oversees air sovereignty and control. Capt. Jeff Noel with the Royal Canadian Air Force says air force personnel were doing skills proficiency training and refueling exercises. Alaska Dispatch


russian flag Russia Unprepared for War in Arctic. Russia is unprepared for a war in the Arctic, a government report says. The country, which has the longest Arctic border, would be unable to quickly respond to an attack in the area, the Regional Development Ministry said in an assessment of risks to economic interests in the Far North. RIA Novosti


Safety Systems Shut Down Russian Arctic Nuclear Reactor. The safety system at a nuclear power plant in a remote Russian Arctic region automatically shut down one of its reactors on Tuesday, Russia's nuclear utility said. The reason for the shutdown of the Unit One of the Bilibino nuclear plant in Russia's most northeasterly region of Chukotka remains unclear. Radiation levels in the 30-kilometer (19-mile zone) are within the normal background range, according to state-owned nuclear utility Rosenergoatom. RIA Novosti


Black Carbon World Bank Sees Ways to Slow Arctic Melt in Kitchen, Coal Mines. Replacing cook stoves, curbing crop fires and capturing methane when extracting fossil fuels would help slow ice melting from the Arctic to the Himalayas and decrease risks of flooding, the World Bank said. Global warming is accelerating the thawing of glaciers, snow caps and permafrost, which will in turn release carbon dioxide and methane they held into the atmosphere, the bank said. Measures to fight pollution today can hold back these changes while improving the health of millions of people, according to the report. Bloomberg


Global Warming Ups Threat of Invasive Species in the Arctic. Scientists are warning that warmer ocean temperatures in the far north will open the door for aquatic invaders that could devastate native marine ecosystems. So far, cold-water temperatures have prevented most harmful low latitude species from establishing themselves but the threat of invasive species will grow as the oceans warm and as ship traffic increases in the Arctic, said an international team of researchers led by PhD candidate Chris Ware from the University of Tromsų in Norway. Summit County Citizens Voice

Government of Canada Releases the 2013-2016

Canada flag

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today released the 2013-2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. "Our Government is taking action on environmental issues that matter most to Canadians," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Canada's second Federal Sustainable Development Strategy builds on the significant progress already achieved and continues to provide Canadians with the information they need to monitor the Government's record and results." Canada NewsWire


Coast Guard Completes Arctic Shield 2013. The Coast Guard completed Arctic Shield 2013 after a successful summer season of sustained operations and outreach efforts in the Arctic region Friday. Arctic Shield focused on Western Alaska and the Bering Strait and consisted of a three-pronged approach of operations, outreach and an assessment of the Coast Guard's capabilities in the Arctic. This regional operation aligns with the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy and its three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance and broadening partnerships. Alaska Native News


US and Canadian Forces Partner for SAR Exercise. The call came in two days ago: an aircraft with 40 passengers aboard had gone down in a remote area somewhere along the Alaskan-Canadian border. The Federal Aviation Administration, which had been monitoring the flight, received the distress call before losing contact with the aircraft. Just as if it had been a real-life situation, the FAA contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson. MarineLink


Heinz Environmental Policy Center Closing. The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment is planning to shut down by the end of the year. The Washington, D.C.-based center has been in operation since 1995 as a nonpartisan environmental group that has worked in the areas of climate change, the Chesapeake Bay and fisheries. It was created following the death of the Pennsylvania senator, who had discussed just such a center. There are eight employees and a $2.5 million budget. The reason it is closing? Financial. Pittsburg Business Times


Coast Guard Seal Proceedings. The US Coast Guard published the Journal of Safety and Security at Sea of the Marine Safety and Security Council. The summer edition including information on "The Arctic: Emerging Frontier, New Opportunities" and "US Coast Guard Arctic Strategy." A link to the journal is here.


BOEM Joins National Science Foundation and International Partners to Study Impacts of Development in the Arctic. The National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and international partners, has made the first round of awards under a program that supports interdisciplinary science important to understanding the sustainability of the Arctic. The research will examine the impacts of the changing natural environment and socio-economic conditions on the region. Alaska Business Monthly


Begich Nominee Appointed to White House Task Force. Senator Mark Begich welcomed the appointment of Northwest Arctic Borough (NWAB) Mayor Reggie Joule to the White House's State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness where he will bring an Alaska perspective to federal discussions about preparing communities for the consequences of climate change. Senator Mark Begich

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Events


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." 


Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 


"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 


Full Conference Agenda 


The World Wildlife Foundation hosts the Fuller Symposium on the Forces of Nature.
Speakers from around the world will engage in active discussion around topics including local responses to forces like land grabbing and climate change, evaluation of community conservation impacts, new technologies for catalyzing social movements, private-sector initiatives, and global policy opportunities. Edward Itta is one of the scheduled speakers. The annual Fuller Symposium convenes thought leaders in science, policy, conservation, and development to discuss innovative approaches to complex issues facing our planet. USARC Commissioner Edward Itta will present. 

RFP Closing Soon. November 13, 2013. As a result of the recent discussions regarding Social Science during the Board, Advisory Panel, and Science Panel meetings, the North Pacific Research Board would like to issue a request for quotes to organize a Social Science workshop and produce a final report as a follow-up to the commissioned white paper, "Global Review of Social Science Integration with Natural Resource Management." 

Please note that the deadline is Wednesday, November 13 at 5pm AKST. 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Due November 15.  The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 


For more information about the project please: 



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."

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13. (San  Francisco, CA)

The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the AGU logo geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to exchange information and broaden their knowledge base. In addition to the scientific programming, the meeting offers over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, including one on Monday, Dec. 9, titled, "Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) and Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), organized by Helen Wiggins, Brendan Kelly, and Hajo Eicken, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in 2018 Moscone West. 


Search the AGU meeting for Arctic-related research sessions here


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014. (Anchorage, Alaska) The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014. Tampa, Florida. Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11, Helsinki, Finland. ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


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."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
Abstract Submission Deadline: November 17,  2013

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