US Arctic Research Commission
July 5, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a measure to authorize military actions in Libya. The House will hold a pro forma session.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Warming Ocean Layers Will Undermine Polar Ice Sheets, Climate Models Show. Warming of the ocean's subsurface layers will melt underwater portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets faster than previously thought, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Such melting would increase the sea level more than already projected. Science Daily


House Panel Rips Coast Guard for Red Tape (and asks, "Where's the high latitude study?"). Congressional patience with the Coast Guard's bureaucracy is wearing thin. Lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the service's inability to provide up-to-date budget and fleet plans and mission studies, and are seeking to compel the completion of a plan to recapitalize the aged icebreaker fleet. Navy Times.


Alaska's Lt. Gov. Focuses on Research, Arctic, Oil. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell Treadwellis helping lead an effort aimed at conducting "game-changing" research capable of putting Alaska on more solid economic footing. "The fact is rental vacancies are low; the state budget is flush right now. But we're at a precipice," he said in an interview from his Anchorage office. Not only must the state work on boosting oil production - which has been Alaska's economic lifeblood for decades - but he said it also must "bring research to bear to see what can be done to help make all of the rests of our economic activity more productive, and what can be done to help solve social, environmental health problems and help preserve culture." Anchorage Daily News


Report: Shipping Emissions to Rise in Arctic. Climate change in the Arctic is not likely to spark an immediate boom in oil and gas exploration, according to a new study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. But it will increase shipping there, and shipping-related emissions of greenhouse gases will intensify in the region. The article, by researchers at the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environment Research (CICERO), Det Norske Veritas and Statistics Norway, predicts that while ship exhaust will not rise significantly globally, it will in the Arctic. In particular, the study says, there will be "a considerable change in the location of emissions" as fishing boats proliferate along the coast and some shipping vessels move through. Washington Post


Military Plans a Show of Force in High Arctic. With Canada's combat mission in defense spendingAfghanistan winding down, the military is preparing a greater show of force in the High Arctic just as Russia is expanding its own presence in the region. While in Kandahar this weekend to mark the end of Canadian troops' military mission in Central Asia, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said this summer's installment of an annual military exercise in the Arctic will be the largest such operation in recent history. The Globe and Mail


Arctic Resource Wealth Poses Dilemma For Indigenous Communities. Oil and mineral deals mean money and jobs, but Inuit leaders are concerned aboutAK Native family drawing the lack of a national debate on industrialization and what it means for the traditional way of life. "I certainly have seen the benefits that can come from [oil] royalties. Schools are better. There are swimming pools, gymnasium, cars - and jobs - all the result of billions of dollars." Patricia Cochran, a former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council from Alaska, expresses the view of many indigenous people on industrial development in the Arctic. Vast oil and mineral wealth have brought huge benefits to some communities. The Guardian


Senators Introduce Bill to Secure NOAA Presence in Ketchikan. U.S. Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill late Thursday which would help ensure the long term presence of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Ketchikan. The bill would authorize NOAA to sell the port facility it currently owns at 1010 Stedman Street, which used to be a Tesoro fuel dock, and utilize the proceeds of the sale toward a new facility located elsewhere in Ketchikan. Political News


New Associate Vice Chancellor at UAF. Nettie La Belle-Hamer is a new associate vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Mark Myers, the campus' vice chancellor for research, said last week. La Belle will also direct the Office of Research Integrity and is now one of three associate vice chancellors of research under Myers, with John Blake and Dan White. La Belle-Hamer also directs the Alaska Satellite Facility and will hold a "50 percent appointment in both directorship positions, which means that there is quite a bit of work to do," Myers said in a statement. La Belle-Hamer, who replaces Blake as vice chancellor, had studied and worked at the university's Geophysical Institute for two decades and her first major project in her new position will be a research project on Arctic oil spills. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events                    


 Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.


Alaska Northern Waters Task Force (ANWTF), July 6-9, 2011. In 2010, the Alaska State Legislature passed a resolution creating the ANWTF.  The ANWTF is in the process of drafting a report to the Legislature to prepare the Legislature to be an active participant in a developing federal and international commission on changing ocean patterns.  Several hearings are taking place across the state.  The July 6-9 hearing will be in Kotzebue and Nome. 


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


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 exchange of 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. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). 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 Arctic developed or developing regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The main focus of the meeting 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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