US Arctic Research Commission
December 16, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The House considers a tax cut extensions bill that the Senate passed Wednesday. The bill includes an extension of jobless benefits and a cut in workers' Social Security payroll tax rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent.


The Senate considers the New START treaty. Votes on amendments to the treaty are possible.


Meanwhile, the Senate continues negotiations on a fiscal 2011 omnibus spending package.


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." 


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. 


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Sen. DeMint: 'We're Trying to Run Out the Clock' on Omnibus. Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday night that he still plans to force a floor reading of the 1,900-page omnibus spending bill.  DeMint (R-S.C.) said that he would still seek a full reading of the $1.1 trillion bill after backing away from a similar threat to force a reading of the New START Treaty with Russia on the Senate floor.  The Hill


Harry Reid Warns of a Working Weekend Ahead. It looks like the Senate will be working through the weekend. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned his colleagues Wednesday that they will be in session this Sunday, given the long list of unfinished business for the lame-duck session. After the vote on the tax-cut package Wednesday afternoon, Reid plans to bring the START treaty to the floor, followed by the omnibus spending bill, a schedule he said will keep the Senate here over the weekend and beyond. Politico


START Treaty Advances to Debate, Ratification Remains Uncertain. The Senate on Wednesday voted to move forward to formal debate on a long-stalled nuclear arms treaty with Russia, but it remains unclear if the votes exist to ratify it. A motion to proceed was approved 66-32, with only a simple majority needed to pass it. Nine Republicans joined all 57 Democrats who took the vote in support of moving forward on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) did not vote. The Hill 


Fiscal 2011 Omnibus: Offshore Drilling Review Would Be Extended. Over the objections of two pro-drilling appropriators, the Senate's draft fiscal 2011 omnibus spending measure would extend the federal review period for offshore drilling projects by nearly two months. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, had warned that the change - incorporated into the yearlong continuing resolution (HR 3082) passed by the House last week - would further hamper oil and gas producers struggling to get back to work after the Interior Department imposed a temporary ban on deep-water drilling and new safety rules following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Congressional Quarterly


Polar Bears Still on Thin Ice, but Cutting Greenhouse Gases Now Can Avert Extinction, Experts Say. Polar bears were added to the threatened species list nearly three years ago as their icy habitat showed steady, precipitous decline because of a warming climate. But it appears the Arctic icons aren't necessarily doomed after all. Science Daily 


Kicking Off the White House Tribal Nations Conference. This morning the Department of Interior and White House kicked off the White House Tribal Nations Conference.  President Obama is hosting the conference at the Department of the Interior - the second he has convened since taking office - and delivered keynote remarks to leaders of the 565 federally recognized tribes in the United States.  Members of the President's cabinet and other high-ranking Administration officials will be participating in a series of breakout sessions with tribal leaders, discussing a wide range of social, economic and political challenges facing Indian Country.   It is rare that so many of us are in one place at the same time and it speaks to President Obama's high-level engagement with and commitment to Indian Country. The White House 


NOAA Scientist Awarded Revelle Medal at AGU. For his work in expanding our understanding of the global carbon cycle and raising awareness for climate change, Pieter Tans, Ph.D., was awarded the Roger Revelle Medal at the 2010 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Among his many achievements, Tans is best known for discovering that the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels that is not accounted for in the ocean or the atmosphere is stored in land ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere. He is head of the Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases group at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo. NOAA   


Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 6516, technical corrections to the Coast Guard Authorization Act (Oberstar, passed in the Senate)

Future Eventsfutureevents


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. Panelists


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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