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August 28, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.



Farrell on Healy 8-2012Scientists to Explore Changing Arctic Ocean. Scientists set sail on August 25 to study ocean acidification in the Arctic and what this means for the future survival of marine and terrestrial organisms. The Arctic Ocean is one of the most vulnerable places on the planet for acidification, yet it is the least-explored ocean. Acidification can disturb the balance of marine life in the world's oceans, and consequently affect humans and animals that rely on those food resources. Ocean acidification is particularly harmful to organisms such as corals, oysters, crabs, shrimp, and plankton, as well as those up and down the food chain. Higher acidity decreases an organism's calcification rate, meaning they lose their ability to build shells or skeletons. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is leading this project, and this is the third consecutive year of research. On this year's expedition, scientists will travel onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy for four weeks, collecting water and ice samples. The Communicator


Arctic Sea Ice Research Lowest Extent Ever Recorded. The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center. Science Daily 


Coast Guard SealUSCG Cutter Healy to Begin First of Three 2012 Arctic Missions. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the nation's only operational polar ice breaker, left Dutch Harbor Aug. 9, to begin the first of three Arctic missions scheduled during 2012. Healy departed its homeport of Seattle July 30, for a deployment that will include three missions that support scientific research in the Arctic.  After a brief stop in Dutch Harbor for logistics and to welcome aboard the 38 members of the HLY-12-01 science party, the cutter continued its northbound transit through the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Sea. The first science mission the Healy crew is scheduled to conduct is a part of the Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) project, and will examine the Hanna Shoal region to determine the biological, chemical and physical properties that define the area as high biological and exploratory energy significance. Maritime Executive 


NASA's IceBridge Seeking New View of Changing Sea Ice. This year scientists working on NASA's Operation IceBridge, a multi-year airborne science mission to study changing ice conditions at both poles, debuted a new data product with the potential to improve Arctic sea ice forecasts. Science Daily 


Coast Guard Attends Arctic Imperative Summit. Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, and Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander, Coast Guard 17th District, attended the 2012 Arctic Imperative Summit, where they discussed Arctic resources and national security perspectives for the region and highlighted the Coast Guard's Arctic Shield 2012 operation. As the nation's lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety, security and stewardship in the Arctic, the Coast Guard is responsible for conducting its statutory missions in the Arctic to ensure it remains a safe, secure and environmentally sustainable region. Coast Guard Arctic Shield 2012 focuses on outreach, operations and capability assessments. Alaska Native News 


shellHigh Stakes for Shell in Alaska. Oil companies are used to being hostages to fortune. Pumping crude out of the world's volatile hotspots and undertaking prospecting in deep waters mean firms like Royal Dutch Shell are old hands at juggling risks. But in taking on the Arctic - in some ways the final frontier of oil exploration - is Shell biting off more than it can chew? Shell has placed big bets on its controversial U.S. Arctic oil exploration plans and its success there is an important part of its quest to find new hydrocarbon reserves. Shell has already spent around $4.5 billion to drill in the Arctic, becoming the first company in several years to explore for oil there. Wall Street Journal 


Ice Science Meets Inuit Legend in Search for Franklin's Ships. There are few clues in the great mystery surrounding what happened to Sir John Franklin's ships in the 1840s, in the frigid waters of the Canadian Arctic. But searchers hoping to find the 19th-century British vessels this summer are looking at two vastly different sources to guide their quest: oral histories told years ago by the Inuit, and hints that can be read in today's satellite photos about how sea ice forms and shifts around. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:


1.  Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.  Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.  Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.  


Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.  
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.



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