US Arctic Research Commission
December 14, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate will resume consideration of legislation to extend expiring tax cuts. Post-cloture debate is scheduled to end after midnight, but a vote on the measure still could take place Tuesday.


The House will take up several bills under suspension of the rules.


American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include a speech by Dr. John Holdren (President's Science Advisor) and sessions on "Extratropical and High-latitude Storms, Teleconnections, and Changing Climate," "Bringing Together Environmental, Socio-Economic, and Climatic Change Studies in Northern Eurasia," "The Use of Observations for Evaluating CMIP5/IPCC Simulations," and "The Future of Polar Science: The Path Beyond the IPY." 


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Scientists Fear Funding Cuts Under GOP Majority. Fiscally conservative House Republicans are preparing to put their stamp on science funding next year - and that has at least some in the science community concerned. In a Dec. 10 e-mail, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography urged its supporters to lobby lawmakers against National Science Foundation funding cuts. "Policymakers and the public need to understand that research proposals funded by [the foundation] have been carefully screened and selected through the peer review process and that successful proposals have been judged based on the merit of their science," the letter read. Congressional Quarterly


Begich Preps for Spotlight with Seat in Leadership. Sen. Mark Begich has barely been in the Senate two years, bu
t the Alaska Democrat has aggressively thrust himself into everything from the 2009 economic stimulus to global warming deliberations to internal Democratic caucus changes. So it may seem strange to hear him say that he wasn't angling for his new gig in Democratic leadership. "I didn't ask for it," Begich said in an interview Friday. But he acknowledged that he might have a unique point of view to bring to the table as he prepares to become the No. 5 leader and chairman of the party's Steering and Outreach Committee. Roll Call

Senate Vote on Tax Package Gives Shot in the Arm to START Treaty Ratification. Passage of the $858 billion tax package by the middle of this week could pave the way for the Senate to vote on ratifying the New START nuclear treaty by Christmas, the aides said. The treaty is hugely important to the White House and would represent an important domestic and foreign policy victory for Obama if it were to be approved in this Congress. The Hill


Will Hill Be Home for Christmas? With 19 days until power changes hands in the House, Democrats are still struggling to figure out what they can push across the finish line and what they'll have to punt. Both chambers are hoping to end the 111th Congress by Friday evening, but while House aides are confident they'll be able to shut off the lights by Dec. 17, the Senate seems likely to see its schedule slip into next week. Politico


Musk Oxen Live to Tell a Survivors' Tale. Among the various large, charismatic and visibly winterized mammals that one might choose as a mascot for life in the Arctic belt, polar bears are, let's face it, too hackneyed, reindeer too Rudolph, caribou too Sarah Palin's target practice, and woolly mammoths too extinct. There's a better choice, though few may have heard of it. According to Arctic biologists, the quintessential example of megafaunal fortitude in the face of really bad weather is the musk ox, or Ovibos moschatus, a blocky, short-legged, highly social ungulate with distinctively curved horns and long hair that looks like shag carpeting circa 1975. New York Times


Alaska Delegation Seeks Timely Resolution of NPR-A Permitting Issue. U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young recently sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jo-Ellen Darcy regarding the Corps' decision to reconsider part of its previous rejection of a plan to drill in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). In February, the Corps rejected a plan by ConocoPhillips to reach its lease holdings on the eastern edge of NPR-A, a prospective satellite of its Alpine oil field known as CD-5, by constructing a gravel road and bridge across the Colville River. Instead, the Corps determined that a buried pipeline and the use of horizontal drilling would have less of an environmental impact. ConocoPhillips appealed and, last week, the Corps agreed to revisit the decision. Alaska Delegation Press Release


Iceland Walks Out of Fishing Talks. Britain and the EU are on the verge of a trade war with Iceland and the Faroe Islands after talks to agree a quota for fishing mackerel collapsed. Iceland and the Faroes have set their own vastly increased quotas and walked out of negotiations with the EU which were intended to find a mutually acceptable figure. The Independent   

Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 6516, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 technical corrections (Oberstar, introduced and referred to committee)

Future Eventsfutureevents
 NSF logo
Arctic Town Hall Meeting at AGU, December 15. The National Science Foundation, Division of Arctic Sciences, will host a town hall meeting. For additional information, please contact William Wiseman

Alaska Native Congressional Reception, December 15. The Alaska Delegation is hosting a congressional reception in conjunction with the White House Tribal Leadership Conference. Please RSVP to Kristen Daimler


White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 16.  The White House will host the second annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.  For additional information, please email the White House. 


New Congress, January 3. The 112th Congress begins.
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 17-21. Within each theme (Bering AMSS 2011 promoSea, Arctic Ocean, and Gulf of Alaska), presenters will discuss climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.
National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, January 19-21. One of the conference themes is "White Arctic/ Blue Arctic." This theme will address ice changes in the Arctic to consider several questions: What does science tell us about the future of the Arctic? How would issues about the future - white or blue - be resolved? What models and monitoring data will be required to support an emerging management regime that would allow for sustainable use of the Arctic? How can use of the Arctic and its resources be managed in the face of these possibilities? 

Public Forum on Natural Gas Markets, January 22. The federal coordinator's office for the Alaska natural gas pipeline will sponsor a public forum on gas markets Jan. 22 to help Alaskans better understand the supply-and-demand fundamentals affecting the proposed pipeline project. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects will bring to Alaska several national experts on Lower 48 supply and demand including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas.


Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North.
President's Budget, February 7. By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact

Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.
Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life. 
9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region permafrostEngineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.


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