US Arctic Research Commission
April 19, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the spring recess through May 2nd.


Impact of Climate Change on Russian Arctic, today. The Elliot School of International Affairs of the George Washington University will hold an address titled "Permafrost, Society and Climate Change: Implications for the Russian Arctic.  


What does the National Ocean Policy Mean for the Arctic Region? Earlier today, the University of Alaska Fairbanks' "Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy" (ACCAP) hosted a webinar during which over 160 participants providedcomments and asked questions in order to identify critical issues that should be part of the strategic plan for changing conditions in the Arctic Ocean, currently being developed as part of the President's commitment to a new National Ocean Policy. The National Ocean Council continues to seek your input on issues you consider to be important to the Arctic at For those who missed the event, you can tune into a podcast of the webinar at

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


erosionSome Arctic Coasts Eroding by a Hundred Feet a Year: As Arctic Warms, Chunks of Soil Tumbling into Sea, Experts Say. Arctic permafrost is collapsing into the sea by as much as 100 feet (30 meters) a year in some places, new studies say. Since 2000, dozens of scientists have recorded an average annual erosion rate of about 1.6 feet (0.5 meter) of permafrost-or frozen soil-while studying some 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) of coast. That's about 25 percent of the total Arctic coastline. National Geographic 


NOAA Joins International Effort to Track Black Carbon in the Arctic: Unmanned aircraft, land, ship observations study potential role in Arctic climate. Six nations are participating in a study that looks at the potential role of black carbon, or soot, on the rapidly changing Arctic climate. NOAA is using two small unmanned aircraft the size of a large suitcase outfitted with sensors to sniff and sample the air. The Arctic climate is changing faster than some scientists expected. A continuing decline in summer sea ice, warmer temperatures, changes in vegetation, and other indicators signal polar changes that affect the rest of the globe. Black carbon is contributing to this warming. Scientists say much of the black carbon in the Arctic comes from biomass and fossil fuel burning in North America and Eurasia. NOAA 


Research Connects Arctic Bird Coloration to Climate Change. Dr. Johnson's research involves studying color differences among gyrfalcons living in the world's arctic and sub-Antarctic regions. Color variations within species often have a strong genetic component, so studying the differences can provide important clues about how the species has evolved over time. By understanding the genetics behind physical traits like feather color, scientists can predict how climate change might affect arctic animals in other ways in the future. Augustana College


Melting Arctic Ice a Challenge for U.S.: More ships heading north, giving mappingmilitary more to worry about. North of Alaska, a Coast Guard cutter is mapping the ocean floor so the United States can increase its claim to the oil and gas reserves that lie beneath the Arctic waters. Other countries with Arctic coastlines are charting the continental shelves to make similar claims under the treaty that deals with jurisdiction in the Arctic, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Canada and Russia are making claims. The Day


Effects of Sea-ice Loss on Biodiversity. Thirty scientists, managers and community experts met in Vancouver, Canada, to develop a technical report on what effects sea-ice reduction has on biodiversity in the Arctic. The Arctic Council Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) organized and managed the workshop. The Arctic Council


Begich Introduces Arctic OCS Coordinator Legislation: Goal is to speed, streamline development in Alaska's Arctic. To promote oil and gas development in Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and remove roadblocks halting development in the region, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich last week introduced legislation creating a federal coordinator for the Arctic OCS. Modeled after legislation the late Sen. Ted Stevens passed establishing a federal gasline coordinator, the office would have the authority to work across the agencies currently delaying development in Alaska. "I can best describe the situation as regulatory 'whack a mole' for developers in Alaska," Begich said. "Each time we have one mole beat down, another one pops up and derails the progress. But this isn't a game. It's about the future of Alaska and the energy security of our country." Senator Mark Begich

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.  The House and Senate are in recess through May 2nd.

Future Events     


Forest Management, April 20.  The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion titled "Managing Our Forests: Carbon, Climate Change, and Fire. Speakers include Sandra Brown, director and chief scientist, Ecosystem Services Unit, Winrock International; David Cleaves, climate change adviser to the chief, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture; William Sommers, research professor, Center for Climate and Society, George Mason University and   

Thomas Lovejoy (moderator), professor, Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, and biodiversity chair, Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment


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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