Arctic Update Header
April 9, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess until Monday, April 16. 


Roundtable on Deepwater Port and Other Arctic Needs, Today. US Sen. Mark Begich will host a roundtable with Coast Guard officials, shipping experts and others on Monday to discuss the need for a deepwater port that can support increased traffic in the Arctic Ocean. Participants are expected to be:

* Rear Adm. Tom Ostebo of the US Coast Guard;

* Col. Reinhard Koenig, Army Corps of Engineers;

* Matthew Forney, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

* James Hemsath, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.


The roundtable will be held in Anchorage, from 3 to 4 pm today at the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) Atrium, 311 Providence Drive, on the Univ. of Alaska Anchorage campus. The roundtable will be the first of several Begich plans to host on the need for more Arctic infrastructure as shipping traffic grows.



UK Cuts Antarctic Research as More Players Compete for Arctic Resources. The British polar research community is at a loss about its own future after it became known that the government plans massive cuts, more than 25 per cent, to the budget of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The cuts are ordered as a means to reduce the UK's national deficit. In the exclusive story, British newspaper The Independent on Sunday said the government was seeking a cut of 13 million pounds from an overall budget of 48 million. BAS is the leading UK polar research body which actually started as a purely military establishment during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin.  The purpose was to deter enemy ships and to strengthen Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands.  But as years went by it grew into one of the world's most respected polar research institutions.  It was three of BAS scientists, who discovered the "ozone hole" in the Antarctic. BAS research encompasses geology, climate change, marine science, biodiversity as well as monitoring natural hazards such as sea-level rises. Scientists at BAS Headquarters in Cambridge say that it is ever more shameful, because it comes during the centenary of the death of Captain Robert Scott of the Antarctic in 1912, during his ill-fated voyage to the South Pole. The Voice of Russia 


Polar bearUSGS: Some Alaska Polar Bears Losing Their Fur. Alaska polar bears are losing their fur and U.S. Geological Survey scientists don't know why. In the past two weeks, nine of 33 bears checked by scientists in the southern Beaufort Sea region near Barrow were found to have alopecia _ loss of fur _ and skin lesions, said Tony DeGange, chief of the biology office at the USGS Science Center in Anchorage. Three of four bears inspected Thursday near Kaktovik showed the symptoms as well. Scientists have been collecting blood and tissue samples from the afflicted bears, but they do not know the cause or the significance of the outbreak, the Anchorage Daily News reported. WTOP


Snow DragonSecond Icebreaker Planned for Polar Research. A new icebreaker is scheduled to join Xuelong, the country's only Antarctic research vessel, in 2014, highlighting China's ambition for further exploration and scientific study in polar regions. At a news conference in Shanghai on Sunday to mark the return of Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, from its 28th Antarctic expedition, officials said the new vessel is being designed and will undergo tests starting in two years. One Arctic expedition and two Antarctic expeditions are planned by 2015. China Daily


Military Operation to Start in Resolute: Exercise marks military's 1st official return since August plane crash. The Canadian military's Operation Nunalivut starts in Resolute, Nunavut, on Tuesday. About 150 people, including Canadian Rangers and military personnel, will participate in the exercise. The challenging High Arctic environment and the potentially severe weather will set the stage for two missions. CBC News


Coast Guard SealRussia, US Coast Guards Meet All Week in Juneau. In a reaffirmation of ongoing cooperative efforts, the Russia and U.S. coast guards have finalized and signed an agreement on joint actions dealing with increased vessel traffic and illegal and unreported fishing in the countries' northern waters. U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, District 17 commander, and Russian Lt. Gen. Rafael Daerbaev, chief of the Northeast Border Guard of the Coast Guard of the Russian Federal Security Service, singed the document of understanding Wednesday in Juneau. Juneau Empire


Flame Retardant Chemicals Show Up in High Arctic: Air-monitoring state at Alert finds chemicals used on furniture and kids' clothing. New research shows chemicals commonly used to keep flames from spreading are now being found in northern environments. Environment Canada scientist Dr. Hayley Hung has found new flame retardants - chemicals often sprayed onto products like furniture, computer equipment or children's clothing - are drifting from the south all the way up to the High Arctic. The chemicals were detected at an Environment Canada air-monitoring station at Alert, Nunavut, about 800 kilometers from the North Pole. CBC News


Melting Ice May Reshape Our Maps: Increasing co-operation among nations with Arctic interests is offset by growing military tensions. This year's frenzy of oil and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be the harbinger of even starker changes to come. If, as many scientists predict, currently inaccessible sea lanes across the top of the world become navigable in the coming decades, they could redraw global trading routes - and perhaps geopolitics - forever. This summer will see more human activity in the Arctic than ever before, with oil giant Shell engaged in major exploration and an expected further rise in fishing, tourism and regional shipping. But that, experts warn, brings with it a rising risk of environmental disaster not to mention criminal activity from illegal fishing to smuggling and terrorism. Vancouver Sun

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events               


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all areas of arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in arctic science and policy are also expected. More information here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether over 2,000 arctic and antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details here. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 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.


[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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