US Arctic Research Commission
August 23, 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    


Newly Discovered Icelandic Current Could Change North Atlantic Climate Picture. An international team of researchers, including physical oceanographers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has confirmed the presence of a deep-reaching ocean circulation system off Iceland that could significantly influence the ocean's response to climate change in previously unforeseen ways. Science Daily 


Proposed Oil Drilling Off Alaska Coast Prompts Studies of Environment Impact. Oil Drilling in AlaskaBeneath the placid, summertime surface of the Chukchi Sea here on the northwest coast of Alaska, an underwater canyon acts like a bathtub drain. From the south, three currents wash in from the Bering Strait, carrying loads of nutrients. Plankton make tasty treats for bowhead whales, sea birds and fish. Benthos, organisms that live near the ocean floor, nourish walruses, diving ducks, gray whales, bearded seals and various fish. "If you eat food in the water column, if you're a ringed seal, that's where you want to be," says A. Michael Macrander, an environmental ecologist at Shell Oil. That also happens to be where Shell wants to explore for oil. Located north of the Arctic Circle, this prospect has been called "the biggest next opportunity" in U.S. oil exploration by Shell's president, Marvin Odum. Including leases bought in 2005 and 2008, his company has already wagered about $4 billion preparing. It hopes to drill three wells about 70 miles offshore here next summer. Washington Post


Canadian Military Seeks Prototypes for 'Stealth' Snowmachine. The Canadian military, prompted by global warming to boost its presence in its Arctic territories, is in the market for a "stealth" snowmachine that would let it sneak up on ... um, well, nobody seems to know yet. The Canadian defense department is seeking bids for a hybrid sled prototype with an electric motor that would let the user shut off the noisy gas engine that can be heard miles away in the cold, still winter air. Anchorage Daily News


Iceland and Finland Will Increase Cooperation Regarding the Arctic. Ossur Skarphedinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, discussed European affairs and matters concerning the Arctic region at his meeting in Tallinn Estonia, with Erkki Tuomijia, Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs. The minister thanked Finland for its cooperation in European affairs, which includes expert counseling on agricultural and regional affairs. The Finnish minister vowed to continue his full support for Iceland's application to the EU. They discussed the situation in the Euro-zone and Finnish politics, where a new government has recently come into power. ISRIA 


Quebec Seeks Deal on Polar Bear Harvest. HuntersPolar Bear Eating Fish and wildlife officials are hoping that an upcoming meeting in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec will resolve issues over the polar bear harvest in southern Hudson Bay. The meeting follows a larger than usual harvest that saw hunters kill more than 70 bears in the area last season prompted by soaring prices for hides. Research suggests 45 bears is a sustainable target for all of southern Hudson Bay. Otherwise, the future of the hunt in Sanikiluaq - which receives Nunavut's quota for the area of 25 bears - could be at risk. Alaska Dispatch 


Denmark Moves Forward on North Pole Claim. Denmark on Monday presented its "Arctic Strategy" for the next decade, confirming that it intends to lay claim to the North Pole sea bed by 2014 at the latest. The 58-page report said Denmark and its autonomous Arctic territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands had agreed on a common strategy for the region, including producing "documentation for claims to three areas around Greenland, including an area north of Greenland which among other areas covers the North Pole." AFP 


Town Hall Remarks to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Putting Science Lubchencoto Work for Everyone. Under Secretary Jane Lubchenco spoke at the Denver museum. Her statements included: Our scientists build and improve our understanding of how the world works and how it is changing.  But we do so much more than that. NOAA puts that science to work for everyone - each and every day.  NOAA scientists use science to create and share trusted information and solutions to some of the greatest challenges on this planet: such as knowing when and where severe storms will strike, testing seafood for safety, tracking and understanding climate change, using satellites to guide search and rescue operations, responding to oil spills, and working to restore oceans to a healthy state. The full text of her speech is available here: NOAA

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).


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy- and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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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