US Arctic Research Commission
August 29, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    




Laura K. Furgione [Alaskan at heart]. As deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, Laura K. Furgione oversees the agency's day-to-day collection and dissemination of weather data in the United States. We checked in with her to find out what she finds interesting now. New York Times



Republicans Against Science. [Op-Ed] Jon Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn't a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that's too bad, because Mr. Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the G.O.P. - namely, that it is becoming the "anti-science party." This is an enormously important development. And it should terrify us. New York Times 


Scientists Call for Better Management of the Deep Sea. The deep sea is in trouble. A recent study has found that it's being damaged by human activities, and that this is only likely to get worse. Scientists are now calling for better management and conservation of entire deep-sea ecosystems. Planet Earth


Harper Stands Firm on Sovereignty as China HarperEyes Arctic Resources. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent a signal to Beijing that Ottawa will not relinquish its sovereignty over the portions of the Arctic lying within its territory. Countries around the world are looking northward as the sea passage across the top of Canada becomes increasingly navigable and exploration for new energy and mineral sources suggests the Arctic could contain a wealth of untapped natural resources. The Globe and Mail 


Alaska Joins Appeal of Ruling on Polar Bear 'Threatened' Status. The Parnell administration on Friday joined a parade of parties appealing the June decision by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., that the government correctly listed polar bears as a threatened species. On Thursday, 35 plaintiffs and intervenors, some working together, filed three separate notices that they were appealing U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan's decision in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's listing of polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. Most of the parties support or engage in trophy hunting, though they also include an organization of California cattlemen. Anchorage Daily News 


Hunt for Red October: Military Wants Submarine Surveillance in Arctic. Canada's military wants the Harper government to take part in rebuilding a Cold War ocean surveillance system, arguing that the country's waters, including the approaches to the Arctic, are vulnerable to Chinese and Russian submarines. The current system, overseen by the U.S., involves specialized vessels and underwater sensors scattered around the globe to detect submarine movements. But with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s and the collapse of the former Soviet Union, that sensor technology, including systems called arrays, were not modernized. They now need to be upgraded or replaced. The Vancouver Sun  


polar bear icePolar Bear Scientist Returns to Work. A scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears spurred national publicity on climate change returned to work Friday at the federal agency that oversees offshore petroleum drilling. Charles Monnett was suspended from his job at the Anchorage office of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement after federal inspectors said he helped a polar bear researcher prepare a proposal even though he was the government official responsible for determining whether the proposal met minimum qualifications. He was away from his job for the past six weeks. The Washington Times 


Federal Agency Tries to Write Polar Bear Plan: DILEMMA: Declining Sea Ice Mass is the Threat, but Agency Can't Target Cause. In a windowless convention center room more than a thousand miles from polar bears roaming on sea ice, marine mammal biologists gathered last week in Anchorage to work on a recovery plan for the Arctic Ocean's most famous fauna. The Interior Department three years ago listed polar bears as threatened because of the alarming rate at which sea ice, their primary habitat, is projected to disappear each summer. Anchorage Daily News  


Denmark Outlines Arctic Engagement Strategy. On 22 August, Denmark's Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said in Copenhagen that better livelihoods for Arctic communities will take centre-stage in the country's new strategy for the region. She launched a 10-year strategy document outlining Denmark's engagement in the Arctic. "We are keen supporters of economic development and foreign investments in the area," Espersen was quoted as saying by the press. But she cautioned that those wishing to tap the region's resources will have to abide by the highest international standards if they want to take part. "It is important for the governments of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands that the local communities will benefit from any future activity boom in the region, but we will not accept that the fragile environment in the Arctic will be put at risk," she said. New Europe  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered 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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