Arctic Update Header
December 1, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 

 

The Senate will resume consideration of the FY 2012 Department of Defense Authorization bill. The House takes up a bill that would require agencies to periodically review existing regulations and another that would end public financing of presidential elections.

 

Protecting US Sovereignty: Coast Guard Operations in the Arctic, December 1. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Coast Guard's ability to execute its statutory missions in the Arctic. Wittnesses will include: Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant, United States Coast Guard;The Honorable Mead Treadwell, Lieutenant Governor, State of Alaska; Ms. Kelly Falkner, Deputy Director, Office of Polar Programs,The National Science Foundation; Mr. Stephen Caldwell, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Government Accountability Office; Mr. David Whitcomb, Vice President for Production Support, Vigor Industries; on behalf of the Shipbuilders Council of America; Rear Admiral Jeffrey Garrett (ret.), U.S. Coast Guard.


Media Reviewtodaysevents  

 

NOAA Arctic Report Card: "Arctic settles into new phase - warmer, greener, and NOAAless ice." An international team of scientists who monitor the rapid changes in the Earth's northern polar region say that the Arctic is entering a new state - one with warmer air and water temperatures, less summer sea ice and snow cover, and a changed ocean chemistry. This shift is also causing changes in the in the region's life, both on land and in the sea, including less habitat for polar bears and walruses but increased access to feeding areas for whales.  NOAA Arctic Report Card   

Arctic Report Card 2011
Arctic Report Card 2011

 

BoehnerJohn Boehner Rules Out Continuing Resolution. With little time remaining before Congress departs for the holidays, Speaker John Boehner ruled out a continuing resolution to wrap up the remaining appropriations bills at a GOP Conference meeting today. "The Speaker said this morning, 'no CR,'" said Rep. Steven LaTourette (Ohio), a member of the Appropriations Committee. Roll Call

 

Cairn Sinks After Greenland Drilling Failure. Having already drilled three dry holes this year, the oil explorer confirmed that it had plugged and abandoned the final two wells drilled in 2011, further illustrating the challenges of striking black gold in the vast, little-explored terrain. Cairn, whose Greenland program has cost around $1bn (637m) so far, said it would review the data gathered and that it was in discussions with potential partners about buying into its Greenland licenses. The Telegraph 

 

permafrostNew Estimate Boosts Permafrost Contribution to Climate Change. An international group of researchers believes greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost will be released at a much faster rate than previously estimated, which could have significant implications for climate change projections. A survey of 41 scientists - including seven University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers - estimates the amount of carbon released from thawing permafrost by 2100 will be 1.7 to 5.2 times larger than previously estimated. Their conclusions, reported Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, describe permafrost thawing as a likely accelerator of global warming. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

 

icebreakersLieutenant Governor Calls for US Icebreakers in Arctic. Climate warming means more people are using Arctic waters, Alaska's lieutenant governor said Wednesday, and an even greater need for the country to maintain its presence in the region with polar ice breakers. "We're missing the boat while other nations are expanding their icebreaker fleet," Mead Treadwell said. Treadwell will bring that message to Washington, D.C., today, when he is scheduled to testify at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation chaired by Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. The News Tribune

 

Inuit Sleds Being Built for Arctic Sovereignty Patrols. The future of Arctic sovereignty will be riding on traditional Inuit wooden sleds that are being assembled by a group of Canadian Rangers in Yellowknife. The nine Rangers have been tasked with building more than 30 qamutiks - sleds that are traditionally used to haul supplies over snow and ice - for use in guarding remote northern regions and promoting Canada's claim of sovereignty over the Arctic. CBC News

 

Alaska Science Forum: A Better Look at Glaciers on the Go. Using some of the great datasets available today, Mark Fahnestock figured the average winter temperatures of the Arctic from the time he was born until he was 10 years old. He compared that data to the same period in his son's life, finding the Arctic has warmed about five degrees since Fahnestock was his son's age. All that warmth affects things, the scientist said at a recent meeting in Fairbanks. "The glaciers are getting the message," Fahnestock said. As a glaciologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, Fahnestock has witnessed some of the world's great glaciers purge colossal amounts of ice out to the sea. He showed a video clip of a massive Greenland glacier calving off half a billion tons of ice in a few minutes as he and his coworkers looked on. The transfer of ice to the sea was so dramatic it made the ground move, just a hair, in South Dakota, Fahnestock said. Capital City Weekly

 

begichBegich Calls for Funding Accurate Weather Forecasting. The federal government should improve its ability to forecast severe weather, such as the 100-year storm which hammered Alaska's northwestern coast, according to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich who chaired a Senate subcommittee hearing on the importance of accurate and reliable weather forecasting. Begich, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard cited the hurricane-force storm that slammed into Western Alaska and the record number of weather-related disasters plaguing nearly every region of the country. In the hearing, Begich called for a series of solutions to better prepare for and respond to future storms. Senator Mark Begich

 

Delegation Wants Equal Treatment for Alaska's Fisheries. Alaska's Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator - making the case that Alaska's waters should receive the funds necessary to improve operations, while similar endeavors are being funded on an ongoing basis in New England and on the West Coast. "You have made commitments to fund observers in other regions while they transition to catch share programs," wrote the delegation.  "We are concerned funding observers in these regions might jeopardize your ability to provide start up funds for the restructured North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program.  Meanwhile, the burden imposed on fishermen in Alaska's small boats and 60 -foot to 125-foot vessel fleets would be unwarranted." Senator Mark Begich

 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

 

H.R. 3529, the Northern Border Commerce Protection Act. (Owens, introduced and referred to committee)

 

H.R. 3532, American Indian Empowerment Act (Don Young, introduced and referred to committee)

 

S. 1925, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (Leahy, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                                   

   

Airships to the Arctic VI: A Game-Changer, December 5-6, 2011. The sixth Airships to the Arctic conference explores the forward and backward linkages of the emerging airship industry. The introduction of transport airship will require new locations for transshipment and generate economic opportunities that do not exist today. Just as these other modes of transport spawned an array of input suppliers, this conference examines the supply base of the airship industry. Construction of large transport airships will create the need for materials, engines, pilots, avionics and many other large and small input suppliers. 

 

AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 

 

National Science Foundation Town Hall Meeting, December 7. The Arctic Sciences Division (NSF) will hold a Town Hall Meeting from 12:00 - 1:30 pm in the ARCUS community room (San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Pacific Room J). Note the change from the AGU program book. The Deputy Director and Program Officers will discuss the Division's portfolio, some recent awards, future directions, and--most importantly--take questions and hear comments from the community. If you have questions, contact bkelly@nsf.gov.

 

Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research

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activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.

 

Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1 

Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here. 

  

Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 

 

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.  

 

The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.

 

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.

 

 White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  

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