US Arctic Research Commission
July 8, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to complete work on the DOD spending bill and move to Energy-Water appropriations. The Senate is not in session.


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. USARC's Chair Fran Ulmer will give testimony. 


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Conrad Holds Off on Unveiling Budget. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) won't unveil his budget to the public this week after all, aides said Thursday. Conrad had said earlier in the day that the timing would be decided by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after the Nevada Democrat and other Congressional leaders attended a morning meeting at the White House about raising the debt limit and reducing the deficit. Roll Call


Ancestry of Polar Bears Traced to Ireland. An international team of scientistsPolar Bear Eating Fish has discovered that the female ancestor of all living polar bears was a brown bear that lived in the vicinity of present-day Britain and Ireland just prior to the peak of the last ice age -- 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State University and one of the team's leaders, explained that climate changes affecting the North Atlantic ice sheet probably gave rise to periodic overlaps in bear habitats. These overlaps then led to hybridization, or interbreeding -- an event that caused maternal DNA from brown bears to be introduced into polar bears. Science Daily 


Hydrographers Stepping Up to the Challenge. A schizophrenic interest in both ocean engineering and the ocean's record of climate history led Larry Mayer, director, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM), co-director, Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) and Professor of Earth Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to an impressive career. Another schizophrenic aspect of his career is that he looks both North, to the Arctic, and South, to the Gulf of Mexico. With more than 50 expeditions to sea, amongst them many to the Arctic, and a new role as leader of an inquiry team installed by the National Research Council that will study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the ecosystem in the Gulf, he is able to connect the two regions that are playing such a big role in today's and tomorrow's energy supply of the United States and beyond. Hydro International 


Thawing Arctic Opens Up New Shipping Routes on the 'Roof of the World.' Cold is the new hot in shipping circles as melting sea ice opens up prospects for trade between China and the west to move across the roof of the world. An increasing amount of seaborne traffic is beginning to move on the so-called Northern Sea Route which traverses the Siberian coast. There are also hopes of opening up more of the North West Passage above Canada. The Guardian


Fire to Become Increasing Important Driver of Atmospheric Change in Warming World. How the frequency and intensity of wildfires and intentional biomass burning will change in a future climate requires closer scientific attention, according to CSIRO's Dr Melita Keywood. Science Daily 


National Guard Has Role in Arctic Ops. The National Guard, working through the Defense Department with multinational forces, is promoting a balanced approach to improve human and environmental security in the Arctic region, Pentagon officials said in a May report to Congress. The report on Arctic Operations and the Northwest Passage highlighted strategic national security objectives and needed mission capabilities to perform ongoing training operations in the Arctic region.


Scientists Call for More Data on Arctic Oil Spill Prevention. A group of scientists is icebreakersworking to create a suggested plan of action that identifies key data they say should be gathered before offshore drilling in the Alaska Arctic can proceed. Key items that decision-makers should know before Shell or other companies drill for oil and gas include more knowledge about the impact of noise on marine mammals, the effects of climate change, and wind and current data that can better identify the path an oil spill would take in the Beaufort or Chukchi seas, said Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's U.S. Arctic Program. Alaska Dispatch


NOAA Vessel Begins Arctic Underwater Mapping. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NAA) announced today that the 231-foot-long vessel Fairweather departed Kodiak this morning on its way to the waters of Kotzebue Sound, above the Arctic Circle. The ship will be conducting undersea mapping of the region in order to update the underwater topography of the region, something not done in almost 150 years. Part of the ship's mission is in response to increased shipping traffic through Arctic regions as climate change leads to longer shipping windows due to reduced sea ice. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                    


Arctic Oil and Gas Development, July 12, 2011. The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a session on the Gulf oil spill and its impacts on oil and gas development in the Arctic.  Topics of discussion will include Arctic nations and their development plans, oil spill risks, and the possibilities for international cooperation to reduce the risk of major accidents. Confirmed speakers include Senator Lisa Murkowski, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes, and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer.


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.


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.


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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