US Arctic Research Commission
December 17, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate continues debate on the New START agreement with Russia.


The House votes on an authorization of defense programs; passage could lead to Senate action later in the day.


With funding for the government set to expire Saturday, work on a continuing appropriations measure is possible in both chambers.


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


Reid Gives Up on Omnibus Spending Bill. In the face of a GOP filibuster of an capitalomnibus spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday that he would drop his efforts to pass it and would instead pursue a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. He also filed a cloture motion Thursday night on a key immigration reform bill, known as the DREAM Act, as well as a bill that would repeal the military's ban on openly gay service members. The move sets up procedural votes Saturday and final passage Sunday or Monday for the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, which appears to have enough GOP support to pass if cloture is invoked. The DREAM Act, although popular with Democrats and some moderate Republicans, does not appear to have the votes for cloture. Congressional Quarterly


Warming Skeptic Gets Key Science Post. Leading House climate skeptic Jim Sensenbrenner appears to have landed a perch to lead investigations into global warming science. The Wisconsin Republican is set to become the vice chairman of the House Science Committee under incoming Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Hall told POLITICO Thursday. "With his background, his insistence, he can do the mean things that we don't want to do," Hall said. "I'm a peaceful guy; he likes combat." Politico


Loss of Arctic Ice May Promote Hybrid Marine Mammals. Scientists have expected for some time that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer by the end of this century. Writing in the December 15 issue of the journal Nature, a trio of researchers say the seasonal loss of this ice sheet, a continent-sized natural barrier between species such as bears, whales and seals, could mean extinction of some rare marine mammals and the loss of many adaptive gene combinations. Science Daily 


High-Tech Software, Unmanned Planes Allow Scientists to Keep Tabs on Arctic Seals. A novel project using cameras mounted on unmanned aircraft flying over the Arctic is serving double duty by assessing the characteristics of declining sea ice and using the same aerial photos to pinpoint seals that have hauled up on ice floes. Science Daily


Canada Approves Arctic Pipeline. Canada's National Energy Board approved plans Thursday to build a 740-mile pipeline to ship natural gas south from the Arctic. The decision, which followed a six-year review, removes a major obstacle to the 16.2-billion-Canadian-dollar (US$16.1 billion) Mackenzie Gas Project, which proposes to bring gas from Canadian fields in the Northwest Territories bordering the Arctic Ocean to other pipelines and refineries that serve the North American market. Wall Street Journal  


Ice Refuge May be Polar Bears' Last Stand. As the Arctic warms, summer sea ice is projected to disappear from much of the area by the middle of the century. That poses a problem to animals that depend on sea ice to live on, such as polar bears, seals and walruses. A group of researchers looking where and how ice forms and wind patterns has projected that there may be one, final, ice-covered refuge for these animals as the rest of the sea becomes clear. It will be, they believe, just north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Greenland That area has the oldest ice in the region, which likely will mean that it will stay ice-covered even as the rest disappears. USA Today


Obama's Chief of Staff Supports Improved Indian Country Outreach. In a first for the Obama White House, the president's chief of staff sat down for an interview with a Native American publication. Pete Rouse, who took over the position from a retiring Rahm Emanuel in October, is an all-around political power player who also happens to know quite a bit about Indian policy issues, having served as chief of staff to former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Indian Country Today


Salazar Focuses on Progress Made in Indian Country and Alaska. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar kicked off the Second White House Tribal Nations Conference today, calling the gathering a testament to President Obama's respect for the inherent sovereignty of Indian nations and determination to honor the Nation's commitments to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, a prepared news statement said. President Obama hosted the conference - 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 participated in a series of breakout sessions with tribal leaders, discussing a wide range of social, economic and political challenges facing Indian Country. The Tundra Drums


Arctic Science Friday Humor: What is the difference between caribou and reindeer?  Reindeer fly.


Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

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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