US Arctic Research Commission
May 2, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate return from recess today to consider legislation unrelated to the Arctic.  

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


The Week Ahead: Deficit Reduction. Returning to Washington after a two-week capitalrecess, expect lawmakers to focus on deficit reduction this week. With a shutdown averted last month with an 11th-hour measure funding the government through September, the full debate over the 2012 budget plan can begin. The Hill

Shell Pushes to Open the Arctic. With oil production in Alaska's North Slope in shelldecline, the industry is eager to tap new wells in the Arctic. For five years, Shell has tried to convince regulators, environmentalists and Native Alaskans that expanded offshore drilling can be managed safely. New York Times

Development of Russia's Arctic Shelf is Inevitable But New Technologies are Required to Make Production Profitable. Many experts of Fuel and Energy markets consider that Russia Arctic shelf crude hydrocarbons production costs are too high. Along with the high production costs, there also are excessively high initial costs to developing the shelf and building sleet-proof oil production platforms. The offshore platform building technologies that exist today and which have proven themselves many times on offshore fields all over the world do not apply to Arctic conditions. Some special sleet-proof platforms capable of withholding the enormous lateral pressure of ice floes and resisting the stresses of icebergs hundreds of thousands of tons in weight must be built. You may object and say that sleet-proof platforms are being actively used in Norway for many years now. However, it should be noted that first, the Norway shelf is surrounded by the warm Gulf Stream current and second, there are no icebergs in the Norwegian and North Seas and the third, ice cover thickness on the sea rarely exceeds 80 centimeters. Oil and Gas Industry Latest News  


Alaska Supercomputing Center's Layoffs May Ease. The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center is close to signing a contract to continue some Department of Defense work, a move that would change plans for widespread layoffs at the facility. ARSC officials expect to sign the deal with defense contractor Lockheed Martin sometime next week. The contract would allow the computing facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to retain the equivalent of about a half-dozen employees exclusively for federal defense work. Fairbanks Daily News Miner


Polar bear cub rescued. On April 29th, a 17-pound female polar bear cub,

AP. ConocoPhillips Jodi Smith, environmental coordinator for ConocoPhillips Alaska, feeds the polar bear cub

approximately 4 months old, was rescued at the Alpine oil field operated by ConocoPhillips on Alaska's North Slope. She was first spotted after emerging from a den with her mother and a sibling seven weeks ago, said Rosa Meehan, the Fish and Wildlife Service marine mammals manager in Alaska. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey had captured the sow and her cubs and put a radio collar on the mother. "Unfortunately, the collar slipped off a few days later," Meehan said. The cub showed up on Thursday, and Fish and Wildlife coordinated plans with the Alaska zoo to collect the bear. There are several possible scenarios that could have led to abandonment. The mother might have been in poor condition and unable to care for the cubs. Or the cub might have gotten separated from her mother in a storm, or if the mother was trying to protect the cub from an adult male bear. The mother and the other cub could be dead or alive. "We don't know what happened here," Meehan said. "We were just pleased to be able to rescue this polar bear cub and put it in the hands of U.S. Fish and Wildlife," ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said. "We really appreciate our Alpine employees because they have a real commitment protecting the wildlife that we coexist with on the North Slope." Anchorage Daily News 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday. The House and Senate return from recess today.

Future Events     


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution (pdf), May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference.  


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 chairmanship to Sweden. Secretary Hillary Clinton will lead the US delegation. 


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. 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. 


Alice Rogoff, Alaska Dispatch Publisher

The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21.  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. Registration is $2500 for out-of-state participants (includes registration, meals, tax, ground transfers & lodging), and $900 for in-state (includes registration & meals). Speakers are free. Media registration and meals are free.


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. icediminisharcticNational 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. 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. 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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