Arctic Update Header
October 25, 2013
The House and Senate are in recess.  


Arctic sea ice Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels in 44,000 Years, Study Finds. Plenty of studies have shown that the Arctic is warming and that the ice caps are melting, but how does it compare to the past, and how serious is it? New research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years. Huffington Post 


Parnell Suggests Tribal Courts Handle Some Domestic Violence, Alcohol Cases; Critics Skeptical. Gov. Sean Parnell told the Alaska Federation of Natives Thursday he is considering a plan that would allow tribal courts -- rather than state judges -- to preside over cases involving certain domestic violence and alcohol-related crimes. The village-based courts would hand out punishments and, if the offender complied, the case would not become part of his or her state criminal record, according to the Department of Law. Anchorage Daily News 


AFN President, Candidate for Governor Address Convention. Several 2013 national laws were detrimental to Alaska Natives, AFN president Julie Kitka said Thursday. In her remarks at the opening of the annual convention, Kitka said a Supreme Court decision that overturned parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was inappropriate because it ignores Alaska's history of voter discrimination. She also criticized this year's Violence Against Women Act for leaving Alaska out of an expanded jurisdiction for tribal courts. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Governor, TCC President Address AFN Convention. Gov. Sean Parnell spoke about domestic violence, subsistence and distance education during his brief address at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. Parnell, in his Thursday remarks, renewed his commitment to providing a village public safety officer for every village that wants one as part of his "Choose Respect" campaign against domestic violence. He spoke in support of using tribal courts instead of state courts in domestic violence cases if the parties prefer. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Inuit Group Calls on Canada to Fund Arctic Research More Vigorously. Inuit leaders say they want to see more long-term government support for Arctic research into issues affecting the North. Senior officials of the Arctic Council wrapped up three days of closed-door meetings here on Wednesday. "The unfortunate part is a lot of Canada's world-renowned scientists have to go to other forums to continue their work because there isn't the same commitment and dedication to continue that work to the same degree the ICC thinks there should be," said Duane Smith, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council for Canada. Alaska Dispatch 


Cool Summer Slowed Arctic Melt. This year has seen a notable slowdown in the rate at which the Arctic sea ice cover has shrunk during the summer, compared with recent years, although this year's Arctic sea-ice extent minimum remains consistent with a continuing decline rate of about 14 percent per decade. At 2.07 million square miles, this year's ice extent minimum was 664,000 square miles more than the record minimum set in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC. The melt of the onshore Greenland ice sheet also slowed this year, NSIDC said. Petroleum News 


Greenland Votes to Allow Uranium, Rare Earths Mining. Greenland's parliament voted on Thursday to end a decades-long prohibition on mining for radioactive materials like uranium, further opening up the country to investors from Australia to China eager to tap its vast mineral resources. The move will not only allow the mining of uranium deposits, but also of rare earths, minerals used in 21st century products from wind turbines to hybrid cars and smart phones and that are currently mostly extracted by China. The Globe and Mail 


ANWR Alaska Science Forum: Biologist Sees Value in Unchanged Landscape. George Schaller has studied gorillas in Rwanda, lions on the Serengeti, pandas in China, antelope in Tibet, and many other animals in wild places around the planet, but he thinks the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique among them. He visited there in 2006 for the first time in half a century. "On the Sheenjek (River), we climbed the same cliff I climbed in 1956, and looking out there was no difference-no roads, no buildings, no garbage dumps." Juneau Empire 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was consider yesterday.

Future Events

Marine Transportation System (MTS) Industry Webinar on implementation of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, October 31, 2013 (Webinar). The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) Executive Secretariat is hosting a webinar for Arctic marine transportation interests to provide an overview and receive comments on the "National Strategy for the Arctic Region" implementation plan. The webinar is scheduled for Friday, October 31, 2013, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (Eastern).  Presentations will be provided by NSS, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Department of State.

Meeting number: 8773361839 Code: 7705293

Access the Webinar 


17th Sitka WhaleFest: "Arctic Sea Change: What's Ahead?" October 31 - November 3, 2013, (Sitka, Alaska). "Sitka WhaleFest presents a unique science symposium blending local knowledge and scientific inquiry concerning the rich marine environment of our northern oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include symposium lectures, interactive student sessions, marine wildlife cruises with scientists, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, student art show, and a fun run/walk."


"The Arctic is changing. This is an indisputable fact. How the people and animals who depend upon the Arctic will adapt to change is an open question. How will narwhals and polar bears cope with less summer ice? Bowhead whales may have their world rocked when humpbacks, fins and other baleen whales begin - they already are - feeding in their backyard. The resource users of the Arctic will need to make adjustments and changes to live in this new world. Who will be the sea winners and sea losers? These are questions we will discuss with the experts who are passionate about the Arctic."

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. 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Released August 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 Fall Meeting, Dec. 9-13

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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