US Arctic Research Commission
May 12, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a judicial nomination. The House will resume consideration of the intelligence authorization bill.


Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, May 12. The Arctic Council will host this meeting in Nuuk, Greenland. The meeting will consider "The Changing Arctic: Challenges and Opportunities for the Arctic Council;" the Nuuk Declaration; the Arctic Council Search and Rescue Agreement; and hand over the chairmanship to Sweden. Secretary Hillary Clinton will lead the US delegation. 


Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Legislation, May 12. The Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on pending legislation including legislation regarding polar bear trophy importation from Canada and authorization of funds to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineate the United States extended continental shelf, and monitor coastal changes.



Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Arctic Nations Eye Region's Potential. Nations bordering the Arctic are set to Deutsche Welle photoagree on steps to exploit the region. But with climate change paradoxically making it more accessible to energy companies, some are asking if we are ready for an Arctic oil spill. John Farrell, the executive director of the US Arctic Research Commission, says further oil exploration in the far north is unavoidable, but he thinks the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico "raised the level of interest and concern" over the risks associated with drilling in "new frontier areas" such as the Arctic. Deutsche Welle


House Panel Authorizes Nearly $700 Billion in Defense Spending. The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday approved a spending measure that clears the Pentagon and Energy Department to spend nearly $700 billion next fiscal year. The panel approved a baseline Pentagon spending level of $553 billion, matching the Obama administration's request. It also authorized the Energy Department to spend $18 billion on nuclear weapons projects, and cleared the military to spend $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hill 


Secretary Clinton: Travel to Nuuk, Greenland for Arctic Council Ministerial. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Greenland with Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to participate in the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council.  For more information about her schedule and remarks, see here 


hillary clintonHillary Clinton Takes Seat at Arctic Council. Officials of the eight Arctic nations are taking their first concrete step to cooperate in an ecologically fragile region where climate change is driving economic competition. Members of the Arctic Council - the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden - plan to sign an agreement on Thursday to coordinate search-and-rescue operations across 13 million square miles of ocean that are becoming more navigable as Arctic sea ice decreases. In a sign of the Council's new prominence in American foreign policy, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first secretary of state to attend one of its biannual meetings. New York Times  


Inuit Circumpolar Council Says Yes to Oil and Gas with Conditions. In a long-awaited declaration issued Wednesday in Greenland, the Inuit Circumpolar Council said yes to development in what ICC chair Aqqaluk Lynge calls the oil and gas highway between Greenland and Nunavut, but only subject to strict conditions. The ICC released the document, called "A Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Resource Development Principles in Inuit Nunaat," prior to the Thursday's Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland's capital.


First Ocean Acidification Buoy Placed in Alaska Waters. Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are installing ocean acidification buoys in Alaska waters to help scientists learn how climate change may be affecting the pH level of northern seas. The first buoy was placed in April at the mouth of Resurrection Bay, near Seward, after being assembled at UAF's Seward Marine Center, university officials said May 11. The Arctic Sounder 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 1231, Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act (Hastings- left as unfinished business in the House)


H.R. 1540, National Defense Authorization Act (McKeon- agreed to by the House Armed Services Committee, report expected May 17)

Future Events     


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Meeting, May 16. The Science Advisory Board is expected to consider recommendations on coastal and marine spatial planning from the Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group and discuss revised operations of the Science Advisory Board.


International Oil Spill Conference, May 23-26, 2011. This conference's theme of "Promoting the Science of Spill Response" continues the long tradition of providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and lessons learned from actual spill responses and research around the world. This conference will also continue the North American part of the Triennial Oil Spill Conference Cycle established in 2005, to be followed by Interspill 2012 (Europe) and Spillcon 2013 (SE Asia), before returning to North America in 2014. The Arctic focus will be on May 25th. 

6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 3, 2011. The International Conference on Arctic Margins was founded by the Department of Interior and what was formerly called the Minerals Management Service. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology.


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14, 2011. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy. The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute, Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a domestic investment and policy forum titled "The Arctic Imperative." The forum, at the Alyeska Resort in the Chugach Mountains, near Anchorage, will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics such as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade. The goal of the gathering is to "sharpen the world's focus on the policy and investment needs of Arctic development through a series of high-level meetings, presentations and investor roundtables." Confirmed speakers include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the USARC; Edward Itta, Mayor of the North Slope Borough; Thomas Barrett, President of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Mead Treadwell, Lt. Gov. of the State of Alaska; David Rubenstein, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislator; among others. 


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. SCICEXicediminisharcticNational Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover on a wide range of maritime operations. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., and the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp. The forum, the fourth in a series, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies. Registration is now open.


7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011Akureyri 

The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The  Intl'

Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every 3 years.   


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 Muskokaddresses 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The conference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


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 

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


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. 


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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