US Arctic Research Commission
August 15, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Study Blames Humans for Half of Recent Arctic Ice Melt. About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. Boston Herald


Arctic Warming Unlocking a Fabled Waterway. The Arctic may be the arctic shippingworld's next geopolitical battleground. Temperatures there are rising faster than anywhere else in the world, and the melting ice will have profound consequences on the roof of the world, opening strategic waterways to shipping, reducing the ice cap on Greenland, and spurring a rush to claim rights to the wealth of natural resources that lie beneath. NPR examines what's at stake, who stands to win and lose, and how this could alter the global dynamic. NPR


USFWS Revised Draft CCP for Arctic Refuge Released. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases its revised draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge today. Bruce Woods, the Service's chief of media relations for the Alaska Region, said this is the regularly scheduled review process for refuges within the state. He said this revision was announced during the first public comment period in April 2010. "This will give the public another opportunity to comment," he said. Juneau Empire


Coast Guard Soon Will Require More Resources in Arctic, Commandant Says. PappWhile the Arctic Ocean becomes increasingly navigable as polar ice recedes, the US Coast Guard will require more specialized assets to patrol the area and respond to incidents, the commandant of the Coast Guard testified Friday. Speaking at a field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Anchorage, Ala., US Coast Guard Adm. Robert Papp said the Coast Guard has conducted exercises off the coast of Alaska but it has not yet run drills inside the Arctic Circle due to a lack of vessels that can sail those waters. HS Today


Greenland's Ice: Beauty and Threat. Greenland's Inuit people have countless terms in their language to describe ice in all its varieties. This gallery of photographs by AP's Brennan Linsley likewise is something of a visual vocabulary for the striking and beautiful forms ice takes on and around the giant Arctic island. Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers are melting more and more as the world warms, sending gushing water and towering icebergs into the sea, threatening to raise ocean levels worldwide in the years and decades to come. Researchers are hard at work trying to gauge how much will melt and when. Fox News


Russia's Arctic 'Sea Grab.' In a multinational race to seize the potential riches of the formerly icebound Arctic, being laid bare by global warming, Russia is the early favorite. Within the next year, the Kremlin is expected to make its claim to the United Nations in a bold move to annex about 380,000 square miles of the internationally owned Arctic to Russian control. At stake is an estimated one-quarter of all the world's untapped hydrocarbon reserves, abundant fisheries, and a freshly opened route that will cut nearly a third off the shipping time from Asia to Europe. The Christian Science Monitor 


Begich Told to Hold Hearing on Coast Guard. The begichcommandant of the Coast Guard says the nation must decide what level of pollution cleanup response capability it wants the agency to have in the Arctic. Adm. Robert Papp says that right now, the agency has none. Papp spoke Friday in Anchorage at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hosted by Sen. Mark Begich. The Alaska Democrat chairs the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. Juneau Empire 


Watchdog Group Slams EPA's Scientific Integrity Proposal While Defending Polar Bear Scientist. The EPA released a draft of its scientific integrity proposal last week in response to President Obama's 2009 directive that agencies adopt rules prohibiting political interference with science, promoting transparency and extending whistleblower protection to scientists.  But Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), says the proposal fails to achieve any of those goals. "EPA has put forward by far the weakest scientific integrity rules of any agency. In many ways, it is a big step backward," PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said. Fox News 


Might Commercial Space Tourism 'Take Off' in the Arctic? NASA's space shuttle program officially ended with two highly publicized final flights in July. And with that, human beings moved another step closer to something that some have dreamed about for years -- commercial space flight. Sweden wants in on the action, and one Swede in particular. Since 2007, a consortium has been working on a major project that would make Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, Europe's first place for space tourism. It's called Spaceport Sweden. Alaska Dispatch  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.


Future Events                     


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 exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011. "Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hveragerđi, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different  perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


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 Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. 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. 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 occurs. 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. Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011. Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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. Details to follow.   


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


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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