US Arctic Research Commission
July 29, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are expected to consider legislation to increase the debt limit. Votes are expected. The House is expected to be in session this weekend.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


John BoehnerHouse Will Remain in Session this Weekend. The House will remain in session through the weekend as Congress scrambles to secure a debt-limit deal in the face of a looming default deadline. House lawmakers will continue consideration of a 2012 funding bill for the Interior Department while they wait for the Senate to act on a debt-limit bill, the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced Thursday. The Hill


Suspension of Leading Arctic Scientist Raises Suspicions. It was seen as one of the most distressing effects of climate change ever recorded: a polar bear dying of exhaustion after being stranded between melting patches of Arctic sea ice. But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct. Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist, oversaw much of the scientific work for the US government agency that has been examining drilling in the Arctic and managed about $50 million (US) in research projects. He was suspended on July 18. Sydney Morning Herald


Lost Interview: Alaska Scientist Described How He Discovered 'Drowned Polarpolar bear ice Bears.' In July 2007, I sat down with wildlife biologist Charles Monnett and a spokesperson for the then-Minerals Management Service, the federal regulator of offshore oil development. Monnett -- who is now in trouble with MMS' successor, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement -- had led the team of federal scientists who had spotted apparently dead polar bears floating in the Arctic Ocean in fall 2004, the causalities, some would later argue, of a warming climate. Or perhaps just a brutal storm. That revelation, which was published in a journal at the time, galvanized environmentalists, who had long been saying the Arctic was melting. There was no ice for the bears, and now it seemed they had to swim farther than ever before. That was the implication of Monnett's and his colleagues' work at MMS. Alaska Dispatch


Tundra fireTundra Fires Could Affect Climate Change: 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire Released Tons of Carbon into Air. The July 2007 tundra fire near the Anaktuvuk River was the largest such ever recorded, but that wasn't the only thing that made it noteworthy. According to a new study published in the journal Nature, the burning tundra released more than two million tons of carbon into the air. The authors said the carbon could affect global climate change. Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Canadian Cod Make a Comeback.
At last, a bit of fishy good news: cod have begun returning to Canadian seas where they were fished to near-extinction in the early 1990s. The finding shows that fishing bans are paying dividends, which should boost annual calls to impose similar bans in European waters. New Scientist 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 50, Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization (Young, House hearings held)


H.R. 2580, Interior-Environment appropriations bill (Simpson, considered in the House)


S. 1063, Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act (Murkowski, Senate hearing held)

Future Events                     


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.


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.


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