US Arctic Research Commission
April 14, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will vote on legislation to fund government operations through the end of the fiscal year and two health-related resolutions. The Senate will vote on the same packages after they are cleared by the House.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Quick Finish Sought for Fiscal 2011 Fight. After weeks of late-night negotiations and last-minute deals, congressional leaders are pushing for swift resolution of the battle over fiscal 2011 spending. Lawmakers from both chambers seemed confident they can clear a compromise appropriations package as early as Thursday, ending, for now, the battle between House Republicans pushing for deep discretionary spending rollbacks and Senate Democrats' efforts to beat back policy changes and larger cuts. 


Alaska Ranks High in Rate of Criminals Returning to Prison: NO SURPRISE: But state official questions method of comparison. More than half of all Alaska prisoners released in 2004 returned to prison within three years, according to a national study released Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States. At a recidivism rate of 50.4 percent, Alaska joined five other states -- Minnesota, California, Missouri, Illinois and Vermont -- where convicts are most likely to re-offend. The study tracked prisoners until 2007 and included more than 5,800 ex-cons in Alaska who were caught committing new crimes or breaking the conditions of their release before heading back behind bars. "I see these guys, over and over again, all the time," said Sgt. Randy McLellan, a corrections officer at Mat-Su Pre-trial Facility. "We call it life on the installment plan." Anchorage Daily News


Polar bearRussia Bans Polar Bear Hunting this Year For Indigenous People in Far East, in Contrast to US. Russia has banned the hunting of polar bears this year, thanks to a group with close ties to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a longtime defender of large endangered animals. A Russian-U.S. commission last year agreed to restrict polar bear hunting to 29 animals per year for each country. But The Polar Bear program, established under Putin's patronage, said this week that Russia had waived its quota for bear hunting. Although the polar bear is an endangered animal, officials in Russia and the U.S. have said hunting is vital for the indigenous people in Alaska and in far-eastern Russia across the Bering Strait. Washington Post


Russian Icebreaker is Contentious in Arctic. Russia has been accused of putting in danger the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic with their massive icebreaker, the Yamal, which has been clearing a path through the ice for merchant ships. The Yamal, at 150 meters long (490 feet) and displacing 23,455 tons, is one of the largest icebreakers in the world and one of very few capable of forging a path through the thick ice of the Arctic. The nuclear-powered vessel creates a path for merchant shipping so that thousands of miles can be cut from the itineraries of shipping lines, but critics say that navigation through the Arctic is too dangerous. Albuquerque Express


Canadians Believe Arctic Should be the Priority Region of Protection in Canada Says Survey. Eight-in-ten (84 per cent) of Canadians believe the Arctic environment is unspoiled and fragile and should be the priority region for protection in Canada, according to survey results released by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) in advance of Earth Day, this April 22. The survey finds that 90 per cent of Canadians believe Canada has a special role to play at the international level as the protector of the Arctic. The national survey was sponsored by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, a family foundation, and conducted by Leger Marketing. American Banking News


Comment by Rosemary Ahtuangaruak: Shell drilling will harm whale, Inupiat. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak testified today to the subcommittee on Energy and Power in the U.S. House's Energy and Commerce Committee: Members of the ComOil Drilling in Alaskamittee, thank you for the invitation to participate in today's hearing. My name is Rosemary Ahtuangaruak and I have lived on the coast of the Arctic Ocean for most of my life. I recently moved to Barrow, Alaska from Nuiqsut, Alaska, an Inupiat community on the Arctic's Beaufort Sea coast. In Nuiqsut, I served as mayor, council member, tribal council member, school advisory council member, subsistence advisory boardmember and a longtime community health aide. The Arctic Sounder


House Budget Plan Would Cut FY 2010 Science Funding to 2008 Level. Later this week the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a spending blueprint that will guide the FY 2012 appropriations process. It is fully expected that there are enough votes in the Republican-controlled House to pass this bill and that the Democratic-controlled Senate will reject it. This budget resolution calls for a 4.2 percent reduction, as compared to the FY 2011 Administration request, in total FY 2012 funding for the National Science Foundation, general science programs at the Department of Energy, for all NASA programs except its aviation program (which is in a different budget category) and for the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. American Institute of Physics


Red Fox LeapingRed and Arctic Foxes Clash in Russia. For the first time, a red fox has been observed intruding on an Arctic fox breeding den in Russia's far north. The Arctic fox abandoned its den to the dominant intruder, leaving pups to fend for themselves. Researchers say this is evidence that red foxes are expelling Arctic foxes as a warming climate allows them to survive much further north. Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) live in mountainous tundra habitats around the north polar region. BBC News 


Nunavut's Mary River Mine Could Disrupt Water, Arctic Char and Walrus: Draft EIS says impacts are "small," "reversible" and "negligible." After plowing through nearly 1,000 pages on how the Mary River iron mine will affect seawater, lakes and rivers, you'll be glad you're not an Arctic char, ringed seal or walrus. These are among the species that appear to stand the greatest chance of suffering ill-effects, injuries or even death when the construction and operation of the huge mine complex in north Baffin get underway, as early as 2012. NUNATSIAQ Online 


House GOP Aims to Reduce EPA Authority Over Arctic Drilling: CONGRESS: Bill designed to exempt offshore work from some requirements. Saying the Environmental Protection Agency's air permitting process had "run amok," House Republicans on Wednesday debated legislation that would make it easier for companies such as Shell to get permission to drill offshore in the Arctic. Anchorage Daily News


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 1473, Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. (Rogers- House Rules Committee passed rule for House consideration of the legislation)


H.CON.RES.34, Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021. (Ryan - rule for consideration reported)


S.350,Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2011 (Leahy - consideration by committee - today)


Future Events     


What does the National Ocean Policy Mean for the Arctic Region, On April 19, 2011, University of Alaska Fairbank's "Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy" (ACCAP) will host a webinar titled "What does the National Ocean Policy mean for the Arctic region?"  Please join Dr. Cheryl Rosa, of the US Arctic Research Commission and Dr. Mary Boatman from the Executive Office of the President, to learn about the development of a strategic action plan for changing conditions in the Arctic, and to share your comments, questions, and ideas.


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution (pdf), May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

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.  


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute, Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a forum titled "The Arctic Imperative: Think of the Bering Strait as the Next Panama Canal."  The forum will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics just as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.  The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. icediminisharcticNational Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover on a wide range of maritime operations. The forum, the fourth in a series, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies.


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.  

7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011

The 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. 

13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme Muskokaddresses 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16. The conference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


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.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future

A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy, on September 20-23, 2011. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occur. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference permafrostwill 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. 


Arctic/ Inuit/ Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.



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