US Arctic Research Commission
May 31, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


This week, the House will consider veteran's benefits legislation and vote on raising the debt limit.The House is expected to begin consideration of its first appropriations bills- the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill and the Homeland Security bill. The Senate is in recess this week, holding pro forma sessions to prevent recess appointments


Note this excellent conference...


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and icebreakersMaritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011 (downtown DC).The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice 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., the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The forum is a key opportunity to learn about changes in the Arctic environment, and the manner in which they are being responded to in terms of policies and practices. Registration is now open.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  

Senate's Slow Pace Frustrates Newer Members. The glacial pace of action in the Senate this year is starting to wear on some of the ambitious junior Democrats who want more of a record to run on. Several first-term Democrats said the all-encompassing budget and debt debates have put other ideas on hold - from education to energy to infrastructure and more. Roll Call


Obama Names New Military Leadership Team. President Obama moved Monday to "complete our team at the Pentagon" by nominating Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld Jr. as vice chairman and Army Gen. Ray Odierno as Dempsey's replacement as Army chief of staff. In a Rose Garden ceremony where he took no questions, Obama urged the Senate to confirm Dempsey, Winnefeld and Odierno "as soon as possible." Government Executive


US Needs Greater Arctic Presence, Admiral Advises: COAST GUARD: Visit afterPapp 35 years finds the ocean vastly changed. Zipping along the northwestern Alaska coast in a helicopter on a summer day, recent Coast Guard Academy graduate Bob Papp scanned for a route his vessel could take through the ice from Nome to Kotzebue, just north of the Arctic Circle. The sea was a hardened expanse, and ice even covered the shore. That was 35 years ago. When Papp -- now Adm. Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard -- returned to Kotzebue last August, there was no ice in sight. Anchorage Daily News


Divergent Long-Term Trajectories of Human Access to the Arctic. Understanding climate change impacts on transportation systemsis particularly critical in northern latitudes, where subzero temperatures restrict shipping, but enable passage of ground vehicles over frozen soil and water surfaces. Although the major transport challenges related to climate warming are understood, so far there have been no quantitative projections of Arctic transport system change. The analysis integrates climate and sea-ice model scenarios1, 2 with topography, hydrography, land cover, transportation infrastructure and human settlements. Declining sea-ice concentration and thickness suggest faster travel and improved access to existing (+5 to +28%) and theoretical (+11 to +37%) offshore exclusive economic zones of Canada, Greenland, Russia and the US. The Northern Sea Route, Arctic Bridge and North Pole routes are projected to become fully accessible from July-September, averaging ~11, 15 and 16 days to traverse, respectively, whereas the Northwest Passage will not. All eight Arctic states are projected to suffer steep declines (−11 to −82%) in accessibility inland, driven by lost potential for winter road construction caused by milder winters and deeper snow accumulation. AnProN


No Coastal Management Session... Yet. All signs are that plans for a special session specific to coastal management have fallen through. It was supposed to happen this week. It'll likely disrupt travel plans of Interior lawmakers. Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, said he canceled his flight late this afternoon. Kawasaki's email to the newsroom: "On the issue of why? Who really knows. I just wish the House Republican leadership would have finished the job instead of adjourning three days early. Now it looks like we'll be forced to meet some time before the end of the month." Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Expedition Could Solidify Canada's Arctic Claims. A High Arctic mapping Canada-US flagsexpedition this summer along a mysterious undersea mountain chain near the North Pole will mark the culmination of a 10-year federal research project aimed at adding millions of square kilometres of ocean floor -potentially an area as large as Canada's three Prairie provinces combined -to this country's territorial possessions. Halifax-based geoscientist Jacob Verhoef, the head of the Canadian government's efforts to secure vast new stretches of seabed territory under a UN treaty on extended continental shelves, said Monday that his team's last scheduled underwater survey for Canada's claim will be carried out jointly with U.S. researchers in August along the little-studied Alpha Ridge, a drowned mountain range more than 1,500 kilometres north of Yukon's Arctic Ocean coast. Vancouver Sun


Ice Melt to Close Arctic's Interior Riches: Study. Global warming will likely open up coastal areas in the Arctic to development but close vast regions of the northern interior to forestry and mining by mid-century as ice and frozen soil under temporary winter roads melt, researchers said. Reuters 


Trash-Free Seas Act of 2011 Introduced in Senate. Legislation designed to clean up and prevent ocean trash from washing ashore and destroying marine ecosystems was introduced in the Senate today, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Mark Begich and Senator Lisa Murkowski announced. The Trash Free Seas Act of 2011, a bill to Re-authorize the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (MDRPRA) of 2006, was introduced today. The MDRPRA's term of authorization expired at the end of 2010. Senator Mark Begich 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


 No legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events     


6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May31-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,

Alice Rogoff, Dispatch Publisher

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 (downtown DC).The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. National 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, largely organized by  NIC Chief Scientist Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, 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.   


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 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


Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society and the regional government of Arkhangelsk, 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 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 event 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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