US Arctic Research Commission
December 3, 2010

capitalToday's Eventstodaysevents


If an agreement is met, the Senate will consider "tax extenders" legislation. The House will hold a pro forma session this afternoon.  The Senate is expected to be in session on Saturday.


Federal Funding, December 3. The current continuing resolution expires on December 3rd. The House and Senate have both passed continuing resolutions.


Arctic Policy 101, December 1-3. PNWER's (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) newly formed Arctic Caucus is hosting this preliminary meeting in Barrow. The Caucus formed in October to "provide a forum to share information and develop regional policies on the Arctic and Arctic development."

Media Reviewtodaysevents

Feds propose listing seals as threatened. The federal government is proposing toSeal Brendan Kelly list two seals that rely on sea ice, including the main prey of Alaska's polar bears, as threatened species. NOAA announced Friday it will seek to list four subspecies of ringed seals, found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic, and two distinct population segments of bearded seals in the Pacific Ocean as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed listings cite threats posed by diminishing sea ice. [Seal photo by Brendan Kelly]. Anchorage Daily News

Alexander Will Debut Ambitious GOP Agenda Friday. Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander on Friday will lay out an aggressive GOP agenda for next year that includes a host of tax cuts, trade agreements and other business-friendly proposals - but no social policy items. The Tennessee Republican will outline his proposals at the conservative Hudson Institute in a speech that is designed to provide a contrast to Democrats' progressive agenda of the past several years and to establish policy goals for Republicans. Roll Call


Senate Democrats Hold Out Hope for Lands Bill Package. Senate Democrats are working to assemble a package of land, water and wildlife bills that they hope can win passage despite Republican efforts to block all other legislation until tax and spending issues are resolved. Environment and Public Works Committee Democrats are working with other lawmakers to pull together fewer than two dozen of the least controversial bills with the hope of attracting the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster. Congressional Quarterly


Senate Clears Short-Term Continuing Resolution. The Senate cleared a fiscal 2011 continuing resolution by unanimous consent late Thursday. Earlier in the day, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that action on the measure (H J Res 101) would likely wait until Friday, but added that "I can't imagine that the Republicans would want to shut the government down." A short time later, Reid emerged on the Senate floor with an agreement to clear the measure and send it to President Obama for his signature in time to avert a stoppage of government operations. Congressional Quarterly


Alaska Acknowledges Climate Change Effects: REPORT: Fire Patterns, altered stream flows and coastal erosion are not noted. Alaska's fish and wildlife managers have released a state plan anticipating effects on Arctic bodies of waters, fishing industries and wildlife resources brought on by climate change. The state is suing to overturn the federal listing of polar bears as a threatened species because of declining sea ice habitat, but the 19-page report released this week begins by acknowledging that scientific and traditional evidence increasingly shows climate changing at unprecedented rates throughout the Arctic.  Anchorage Daily News


Beyond Income Tax Cuts, a Host of Issues Lurk. If they can strike a deal this month on expiring income tax rates, congressional and White House negotiators may also be able to resolve other longstanding tax issues, including the future of the estate tax and renewal of tax incentives for business. But because trying to wrap all those items into a package could make it harder to strike a bargain in the highly partisan final weeks of the 111th Congress, some tax issues may fall off the table. Congressional Quarterly


Oil Spill Commission Examines Future of Arctic Drilling: SAFETY: Presidential commission discusses cautionary approach. The presidential commission that's looking at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill zeroed in Thursday on the future of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, and specifically on how to address possible spills. The panel did not reach any conclusions on the Arctic on Thursday, as part of a daylong meeting in which it also suggested the oil and gas industry set up a safety institute similar to what the nuclear industry established after 1979's Three Mile Island accident. Anchorage Daily News


Fulfilling Our Promise in Indian Country.  Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar's blog post on federal responsibilities in Indian Country. Two years ago, President Barack Obama vowed that this administration would work with Native Americans to empower tribal governments, fulfill our trust responsibilities to tribal members and help tribal leaders build safer, stronger, healthier and more prosperous communities. Today we took a giant step toward fulfilling that promise with Congressional approval of five major settlements for Indian country that are nothing short of historic. The White House Blog 


President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts.  Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts, including Kathryn D. Sullivan, PhD, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Observation and Prediction), Department of Commerce. The White House 


AGU [American Geophysical Union] Fellow Nominated to be NOAA Chief Scientist Testifies before Senate.  On 30 November, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on the nomination of AGU Fellow Scott Doney to be NOAA's Chief Scientist. Doney was elected as an AGU Fellow in 2000 and has also received AGU's James B. Macelwane Medal. His PhD in Chemical Oceanography is from the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) Joint Program, and he has spent significant amounts of time working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and WHOI, where he currently holds a faculty position. During the hearing, Scott Doney explained the main focus of his research has been carbon cycling in the ocean and between the ocean, atmosphere and land biosphere, and that the course of his research career has broadly prepared him for the position of Chief Scientist at NOAA. Doney believes some of NOAA's priorities are maintaining a reputation that attracts top scientists, cultivating future scientists, providing timely information, and turning the science into products that are accessible and useful to the public, industry, and policymakers. AGU Policy Alert


On the lighter side.... The giant eyeball at the North Pole (cartoon). Cul de Sac

Future Eventsfutureevents


Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP) December 8, NOPPWashington DC.  ORRAP is a federal advisory committee that advises on policies and procedures to implement the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) and to provide recommendations to the National Ocean Council on interagency activities. Among other actions at this meeting, ORRAP will approve an "Arctic Findings Paper" (see pages 25-28 on this pdf). The agenda is here.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include 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." 
 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
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, fishes 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 conference 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, 2011The 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 Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is 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, 2011The 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.


president signing
Legislative Action


H.J.Res. 101, to make further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2011 (Obey, cleared for the White House)

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