Arctic Update Header
April 30, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess.


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with its 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science policy issues.


AGU Science Policy Conference, April 30- May 3, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. 





Scientists' Arctic Drilling Plan Aims to Demystify Undersea Greenhouse Gases. The oil and gas industry may be eyeing the energy riches under the Arctic Ocean, but scientists are even keener to start drilling in Canada's polar waters. They say the Beaufort Sea, in the western Canadian Arctic, holds clues to several environmental mysteries of global significance - chief among them why so much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is now seeping out of the sea floor. An international team is proposing an ambitious drilling program to extract some answers. Researchers from Canada, the United States, Europe and Korea want to drill a series of wells from the Mackenzie Delta across the Beaufort Sea. Times Colonist


navyUS Navy Lacks Ability to Operate in Arctic, Games Reveal: It's short on everything from bases to ships to clothing, communications. In six oceans, the U.S. Navy is considered the master. In the seventh, the Arctic Ocean, it will rely on others. As global warming opens the Arctic Ocean to commercial and industrial traffic, the U.S. Navy is pushing to catch up with Russia, Canada and even Denmark in its Arctic ability. If a crisis were to happen now, the Navy lacks the ability to act in the Arctic without the help of one of those countries or the Coast Guard. Last year, the Navy asked the War Gaming Department of the U.S. Naval War College to find out what the Navy needs for sustained operations in the Arctic. Anchorage Daily News


arctic shippingArctic Shipping Boom May Come With New Obstacles. The Arctic Ocean could open for regular commercial shipping within the next five to 10 years, according to a Canadian polar scientist who conducted research for the International Polar Year Conference. But while that may sound like welcome news for intercontinental commerce, the changing ice conditions could bring new hazards to ships plying the polar seas. "Just because you're reducing the ice like that, one of the things we found was that you increase the speed at which this ice moves," said Dr. David Barber, the lead scientist on the Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) System Study. Alaska Dispatch


Coast Guard SealOfficials: Coast Guard Behind in Arctic Race. Even within the tight budget environment, the Coast Guard will be able to afford an important tool needed for the upcoming deployments to the Arctic this summer - a wooden baseball bat. As ocean spray and bad weather freezes onto the superstructure of a ship in the harsh Arctic climate, it can become top-heavy, causing serious stability concerns, said Dana Goward, director of marine transportation systems management for the Coast Guard. "One of the ways you keep the ice off or get it off is you have the crew go out with baseball bats and pound the ice off and have it fall off the ship. And that can be a serious threat to the safety of the vessel," Goward said. Navy Times


Modernizing Inuit Society 'Painful Process:' Scientist. Scientists from all over the world met for the Polar Year Conference at the Palais des Congrès to discuss the emerging environmental, cultural and commercial stresses that are transforming the people and ecosystems of the Arctic. While the accelerating ravages of climate change remained the dominant theme, equally important were questions of what the future holds for the Inuit people who, for centuries, have survived in what is one of Earth's most dangerous climates. Professor Louis Fortier is head of ArcticNet, which is a $67-million federal project to help modernize Inuit society. Montreal Gazette

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events               


Arctic Ambitions: Commercial Development of the Arctic, May 2, 2012. World Trade Center Alaska and the Institute of the North will hold a conference focusing on connections between international trade, Arctic policy issues, and resource development.   

[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click 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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 



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