Arctic Update Header
November 7, 2013


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



Workshop to Explore Alaska and the New Maritime Arctic, November 6-8, 2013. (Anchorage, Alaska) The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and the Institute of the North organized the event, with the Norwegian Embassy and Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development sponsoring. Topics include marine operations in and around the U.S. maritime Arctic, marine access, economic opportunities and links to Alaska's natural resources, marine infrastructure needs and how Russia's Northern Sea Route links to the region.


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." 



Senate Panel to Consider DHS Nomination. The Senate will begin considering the nomination of Jeh Johnson to be President Barack Obama's next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security next week, Sen. Tom Carper announced Wednesday. The former Defense Department lawyer will appear before Carper's Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Nov. 13, kicking off what could become another ugly confirmation battle - particularly after Republicans last week blocked the nominations of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Patricia Millett to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Politico


UAF Researcher Concerned About Fukushima Debris Headed Toward Alaska. A scientist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks says he is concerned about the radiation in the debris floating across the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan toward Alaska and the U.S. and Canadian west coast. Why is he worried? While there are many computer models for predicting the radiation movements, no one agency is funded to regularly sample the actual levels of radioactive elements in the plumes of debris, according to UAF researcher Doug Dasher. Anchorage Daily News 


Wanted: Volunteers for Yearlong Mock Mars Mission in Canadian Arctic. If you're ready to take a timeout from your life and spend a year living in the Arctic on a simulated Mars mission, the Mars Society wants to hear from you. The non-profit group, which advocates for manned exploration of the Red Planet, has released its requirements for the six volunteers who will be expected to spend 12 months at the society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Canada's Devon Island, which is about 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) from the North Pole, beginning in July 2014.


Greenland Unanimously Adopts Indigenous Peoples Conference Document. Greenland's parliament voted unanimously on Tuesday to actively promote and support the final document released from an indigenous people's conference held last June in the Sami town of Alta, Norway. The conference was the indigenous people's own preparatory gathering in advance of the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples scheduled for New York in September, 2014. Arctic Journal


russian flag Russian Geographic Society and Russia's Navy to Cooperate in Arctic Studies. The Arctic studies will be one of the most important trends of cooperation between Russia's Navy and the Russian Geographic Society, Kirill Chistyakov, the society's vice president, said on Tuesday at the ceremony of signing the agreement of the sides on interaction in organizing expeditions to study the world ocean. Chistyakov believes high-tech potentials of the Navy will be the basis of cooperation. For instance, a Losharik underwater craft of the Navy was lowered last summer to the Lomonosov ridge in the Arctic Ocean to take rock samples. Russia & India Report


Obama Taps Hayes Aide for Interior Minerals Post, BP Scientist for DOE Research. President Obama yesterday announced nominees for a top minerals post at the Interior Department and the Energy Department's advanced technology arm. Obama picked Janice Schneider, a seasoned environmental attorney and former Clinton administration official, to become Interior assistant secretary for land and minerals management, the post that oversees energy development on federal lands and waters. He also nominated Ellen Williams to become director of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). E&E News


US Scientists Eye Opportunities Abroad Amid Sequestration, Uncertainty- Senate Panel Told. Ongoing cuts to science and research funding as well as uncertainty are leading the next generation of U.S. scientists and engineers to seek opportunities abroad, thereby diminishing future U.S. leadership and economic growth, witnesses told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee yesterday. "For the first time, I have seen [postdoctoral] students choose placements abroad because they see more opportunities over there," said Saul Perlmutter, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. E&E News


Interior The Department of Interior Set to Release a Federal Register Notice on the Subsistence Management Program for Public Lands; Rural Determination Process. The Federal Subsistence Board is extending the comment period through December 2, 2013, on its earlier request for comments (77 FR 77005, Dec. 31, 2012) on the rural determination process. These comments will be used by the Board, coordinating with the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, to assist in making decisions regarding the scope and nature of possible changes to improve the rural determination process. Public Inspection Desk


EPA EPA Releases Data on Alaska Seafood. This notice makes available for public review and comment additional data and information gathered recently by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from seafood processing facilities in Alaska and other publicly available sources. These data relate to the applicability of and discharge requirements for the Alaskan seafood subcategories of the Canned and Preserved Seafood Processing effluent limitations guidelines. EPA is providing preliminary results of analyses of the updated data and preliminary indications of how these results may be reflected in EPA's final response to petitions submitted in 1980 by certain members of the Alaskan seafood processing industry, and in amended effluent limitations guidelines applicable to certain Alaskan seafood processing discharges which EPA is considering whether to promulgate in final form. Public Inspection Desk 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Events

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.



The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado will host the workshop. This year's theme is "Arctic's New Normal." The workshop will consider shifting environmental baselines over decades to millennia and comparisons with the Antarctic. Previous Workshops have included presentations on Arctic and Antarctic climate, atmospheric chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleoenvironment, archeology, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history and more.



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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