US Arctic Research Commission
August 25, 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    


Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts. USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall. Science Daily 


Summer Heat Unravels Arctic's Icy Blanket. The blanket of ice coating Earth's northernmost seas was thin and ragged in July, setting a record low for sea ice extent for the month. Sea ice stretched across only 3.06 million square miles; the long-term July average is 3.9 million. A photo provides a glimpse of what this seasonal unraveling looks like. Taken by a photographer onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy, the photo shows scientists treading carefully through a seemingly endless landscape of ice, sea, and meltwater in the Canada Basin of the Arctic on July 22, 2005. NOAA 


Airships in Alaska? Stay with me on this. What if fuel arrived in remote Alaska villages by airship instead of barge? What if you didn't need ice roads to distant oil and gas projects because you could fly in your heavy equipment latched to a giant dirigible? Those are some of the ideas behind a two-day meeting called "Cargo Airships for Northern Operations" that started this morning at UAA. How pie-in-the-sky are they? Hard to say, but Pete Worden, director for NASA's Ames Research Center in California is a believer. Anchorage Daily News  


New NOAA Facility in Fairbanks Keeping Tabs on Satellites, Atmosphere. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were joined by Alaska Sen. Mark Begich on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new $11.7-million satellite monitoring facility outside Fairbanks. Located in Gilmore Valley, the 20,000-square-foot Fairbanks Satellite Operations Facility replaces an aging control facility to take over the operation of 11 antenna dishes that control and collect weather information from orbiting weather satellites. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


HarperHarper Defends Nunavut Waste Decision: Gold mine allowed to dump in lake; Environmental issues 'have to be addressed, but that can't stop development,' PM says. Prime Minister Stephen Harper pointed to environmental effects of development in Canada's largest cities Wednesday and defended a government decision to allow a local gold mine to dump its waste into nearby fish habitat. "Obviously, when you dig holes here . you create some environmental issues and those have to be addressed, but that can't stop development, any more than we would let that stop development in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver," Harper said, drawing applause from local workers at the Meadowbank gold mine. The Montreal Gazette


Norway Considers Pipeline for Barents Gas to Europe. Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store says the new discoveries of gas in the Barents Sea can be taken to the markets by extending the existing pipeline system. Store presented the gas pipeline plans at a trade union conference on northern strategies in Bodo. At present, Snohvit is the only operational gas field in the Barents Sea. The gas is pumped from underwater installations via a pipeline to a LNG processing plant onshore near Hammerfest in Finnmark. LNG tankers then bring the liquid gas to the markets in Europe and the United States. Barents Observer


Is the Northwest Passage 'Too Small' To Compete with the Northern Sea? [Commentary] Earlier this month, France's former prime minister Michel Rocard, now French Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic, toured the Arctic aboard the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen. Rocard did not have high praise for his host's capacities up north. He stated: "I have the impression that Canada has given up on the competition to attract a large part of the traffic in 25 or 30 years." Alaska Dispatch


Giant Icebreaker- Hyundai Heavy Testing 190,000 DWT Ice-Breaking Ore Carrier. Hyundai Heavy Industries says it has completed final performance testing on a scale model of a 190,000 DWT icebreaking iron ore carrier that, once completed, will be the world's largest ice-breaking commercial ship. Measuring 310m long by 51 m wide, the vessel will be able to carry twice as much cargo as similar ships built to date, and capable of navigating in 1.7m thick ice at a speed of 6 knots.  The vessel will be up to two times faster and operate with 5% increased fuel efficiency. G Captain  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


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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