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Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: January 2014

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy. Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

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Federal Agencies

  • Suzette Kimball nominated to lead U.S. Geological Survey

President Obama has nominated the current Acting Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Suzette Kimball, to assume the position full time. Kimball, a veteran of the Survey, has served numerous functions within the organization since joining in 1998, including the Director for the Eastern Region, Associate Director of geology, and Deputy Director of the USGS.

Sources: Department of the Interior

  • Navy to update Arctic Strategy

On January 22, the U.S. Navy previewed a new strategy for the Arctic polar region at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, updating their 2009 plan. Certain climate models predict the Arctic could be ice free before 2050, necessitating new strategies and opening routes previously inaccessible in the region.  Rear Admiral Jonathan White, an oceanographer for the Navy who is overseeing the formation of the strategy, reports that sea ice minimums are about 50 percent lower now than in the 1970s, with more seasonal ice melting each year. Furthermore, the new strategy reports that the Northwest Passage, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Ocean, could be “intermittently open” by 2025, and Russia’s Northern Sea Route could have annual brief openings, creating a new transpolar route.  

The Navy policy, set to be released in several weeks time, will follow the White House, Defense Department and Coast Guard plans. The White House strategy called for U.S. ratification of U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Because of the dangers associated with navigating the uncharted seaways, “Improved mapping of the Arctic and better wide-band communications are needed,” said White. The Navy is also working to define the type of ships and aircraft needed to navigate the newly created waters.

Source: ClimateWire; Center for Strategic and International Studies

















Monthly Review prepared by: Maeve Boland, Geoscience Policy Director; Abby Seadler, Geoscience Policy Associate; and Scott Miller, AGI/AAPG Spring Intern.



Compiled February 10, 2014



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