US Arctic Research Commission
August 22, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


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.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


BergmannManitoban [Marty Bergmann] Killed in Resolute Bay Air Crash. A plane crash in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, has taken the life of a Manitoba-based public servant. Marty Bergmann, director of Natural Resources Canada's Polar Continental Shelf Program was among the victims in Saturday's crash of a First Air Boeing 737 that was attempting to land at Resolute Bay in the high Arctic. Twelve people were killed and three survived with serious injuries when the chartered aircraft went down as it was reportedly landing at Resolute Bay in fog. [USARC sends condolences. It's a tragic loss to the intl' scientific community as well as his family and colleagues, as Marty was a true champion and enabler of research.] CBC News


Arrests Continue at White House Oil Pipeline Protest. U.S. Park Police arrested another 45 environmentalists near the White House Sunday, the second day of a two-week demonstration urging President Obama to block a proposed pipeline that would greatly expand imports from Canada's oil sands projects. Police say 110 people over two days have been peacefully arrested after engaging in civil disobedience in front of the fence north of the White House. The Hill


Huntsman: GOP Can't Become 'Anti-Science' Party. Texas Gov. Rick Perry's denial of global warming poses a "serious problem" for Republicans trying to take back the White House in 2012, presidential rival Jon Huntsman says. "The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012," the former Utah governor said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Politico


Harper Urged to Alter Arctic Strategy: GovernmentHarper 'doing right things for wrong reasons.' The fatal plane crash in Resolute Bay Saturday could cause some changes to a scheduled trip to the North by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper's office was unable to confirm details of the trip in the wake of the crash. While the trek up north has become an annual event for Harper, senior Canadian scientists have been urging him to balance his strategy for the region. The Gazette 


Caribou Populations Back from the Brink. Two years ago scientists feared northern caribou were the new cod - once-teeming stocks of wildlife that had sustained entire cultures but were at the edge of collapse. Now, as scientists from around the world gather in Yellowknife to compare notes, biologists are beginning to see signs that the worst is past for an animal so central to the Canadian imagination it's on the back of the quarter. "Our situation overall is looking a lot brighter than it did two years ago," said Jan Adamczewski, a biologist with the government of the Northwest Territories. "Those of us concerned with management of these caribou herds are breathing just a little bit easier." CBC News


icebreakers In Race for the Arctic, U.S. is Largely Sidelined. [Blog] The really cold war? Beneath the towering icebergs, herds of walruses and packs of polar bears, the potential trade routes and vast natural resources trapped beneath the Arctic have long inspired traders, governments and explorers. There was Vitus Bering in the 18th century, who gave his name to the great frozen gateway to the Arctic when he sailed through it and proved that America and Siberia were not connected, and Adolf Nordenskiold, still a hero to Finns for making the first crossing in 1878 of the Northeastern Passage, the Atlantic to Pacific route through the Arctic Ocean that is thousands of miles shorter than the treacherous way round Africa and India. The Washington Post  


ANWR Draft in Public Comment Phase: Open house in Fairbanks Wednesday. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge released its latest draft of its Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, that outlines long-term management of the refuge. Refuge staff and planners will host an open house Wednesday in Fairbanks for public comment. The current plan is more than 20 years old. The new drafts include new scientific information and changes in laws, policies and refuge conditions that have changed since the 1988 original plan, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Fatal Crash Highlights Flight Perils in Arctic. As investigators probed the wreckage of a First Air 737 jetliner that crashed just outside Resolute Bay, Nunavut, killing 12 people and seriously injuring three on Saturday, a former air traffic controller who helped guide planes in and out of the North for 30 years said narrowing down the cause of the crash may be difficult. "It's a very tough world," Yvan-Miville Des Chęnes said, with limited infrastructure, unpredictable weather, a unique solar cycle and even animal migrations combining in the vast region to make it one of the most challenging environments in which to maintain and operate an aircraft. Monique Muise reports. Montreal Gazette


Climate Warming Accelerates Arctic Migration for Some Species. Climate warming has been driving animals and plants toward the poles at a rate three times faster than previously thought - and pushing them higher in elevation about twice as fast, according to a new study that examined the response of some 2,000 species to global warming over the past half century. The research, conducted by a team based at the University of York, also demonstrated for the first time that these plants and animals have shifted their habitat in direct response to rising temperatures and not some other factor. Alaska Dispatch 


PM Brings Soft Power and Firepower to Bear in the North. Stephen Harper has been pounding the drum of Arctic sovereignty even before he became Prime Minister. And in 2007, he rattled his sabre and said the Conservative government would buy as many as eight ships to allow the military to conduct regular patrols of northern waters. His plan, however, to open his sixth annual visit to the Far North with a display of Canada's military capabilities has been turned on its heels by the horrific plane crash on Saturday that killed 12 people. The Globe and Mail


Walruses Haul-Out Three Weeks Early, Global Warming Blamed. WalrusAn extremely early sea ice melt-off has sent thousands of Pacific walruses onto the beaches of northwest Alaska, placing pups in danger of being crushed on the crowded shoreline for the fourth year out of the past five due to the abnormal weather conditions. This year's walrus haul-out, when the lumbering pinnipeds pull themselves ashore, comes a full three weeks earlier than last year's -- a potent symbol, environmental groups say -- that global warming is at work. USAToday


Yellowknife Conference to Study Wildlife Patterns. Researchers and hunters from the territories are heading to Yellowknife as part of an arctic wildlife conference. The Arctic Ungulate Conference, set to begin next week, is held every four years and focuses on the management of northern species such as caribou, moose and bison. More than 200 delegates from the territories and circumpolar countries are expected to attend. CBC News


Geologists Ship Out, Hoping to Claim Piece of Arctic for Canada. With two

Dr. Larry Mayer, US Chief Scientist

research icebreakers, over 100 geologists and geographers from Canada and the United States, three Inuit mammal spotters on the watch for vulnerable wildlife, and two underwater autonomous vehicles that can operate beneath sheet ice, a geological survey team set out last night to crush their way through the last untrammelled regions of the Arctic, mapping the sea floor as they go. But there's far more at stake than just a geological survey: it may be the last chance for Canada to collect the high-resolution data the country needs to stake a claim to a ridge along the Arctic sea floor-and the potential natural resources it holds. Canada is facing a 2013 deadline to make their case as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which governs this process and which Canada ratified in 2003, gives nations a decade to submit such claims. Science Mag

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.


Future Events                     


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.


USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)