Arctic Update Header
August 6, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.



healthmeetinglogo15th 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 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.


Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Field Hearing on U.S. Coast Guard Operations in Alaska, August 6, 2012. The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee will hold a field hearing in Kodiak, Alaska.  The hearing will focus on the nation's need for a robust United States Coast Guard presence in Alaska as the nation begins to pursue expanding opportunities in northern waters.



Acidic Oceans Mean Thinner, Smaller Shells for Sea Critters: Study. Increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons of urchins, sea snails and other sea creatures. And the trend is widespread across marine species, says an international study on the likely impact of ocean acidification on shellfish and other marine organisms in the world's oceans. Ocean acidification occurs because some of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels dissolves in the ocean and reacts with water to produce an acid, called carbonic acid, which causes the oceans to become more acidic. Nunatsiaq News


russian flagRussia to Build New Naval Bases in the Arctic. Russia is going to build bases for the Navy and Border Guard Service along the northern sea route which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, says Security Council chief Nikolay Partushev. The location of the bases, in some of the most remote areas of the Arctic Sea, has already been drawn up, Patrushev told the council's meeting in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, on Monday. However, he says the work on getting them up and running is going slowly. "It was suggested we set up a patrol group, organize sorties along the northern sea route and develop a respective legal base, however, a lot of that hasn't been done yet," Patrushev said. RT 


caribouReindeer Milk, the Next Tourism Industry for Arctic? In 1920, the author Torsten Boberg wrote in a Swedish Tourist Association handbook for mountain travelers that reindeer milk is an acquired taste, but that adding a little of this milk to coffee instead of cream gives it a mild and pleasant flavor. He went on to remark that the sour reindeer milk that the Samis stored buried in the ground was rich, with an obviously high fat content. Now, nearly a hundred years later, one voice in the agricultural community says it's time to have another look at reindeer milk as a possible tourist attraction. Alaska Dispatch


Coast Guard 'Miracle' Keeps Arctic Expedition Afloat: Ice conditions threaten to cancel excursion. An Arctic expedition for students organized by a Gatineau non-profit is on its way out to sea after a "miracle" intervention by the Canadian Coast Guard on Friday. More than 100 students, teachers and guides had planned to board their educational ship in Iqaluit on Aug. 1, but couldn't because the harbor became choked with ice from Frobisher Bay. After days of waiting, the Coast Guard ship Des Groseilliers agreed to help. Students On Ice operations manager Reina Lahtinen said a Coast Guard barge was able to navigate between the ice and bring the students to the Des Groseilliers late Friday. Ottawa Citizen


erosionAlaska Arctic Villages Hit Hard by Climate Change: The impact of climate change-including permafrost melt, more powerful storms and soil erosion-is threatening Alaska Natives. Out late on a Friday night, teenage Inupiat Eskimos go ice-hopping on the Chukchi Sea, one of the rare distractions in Shishmaref, Alaska. The choice for the federal government - and state and local officials - is whether to try to preserve, if it is even possible, the heritage of the Inuit villages, their ice cellars, sod ancestral homes and cemeteries ringed with spires of whale bones. Or spend the hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost to move even one village. Washington Post


Russian Naval Build-up Towers Over Canadian Shipbuilding. Moscow's plans to spend $137 billion by 2020 on beefing up its navy will dwarf Canada's $33 billion shipbuilding program and should be a concern for federal officials, experts say. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the navy will also have an increased presence "in regions like the Arctic" and with Russian bomber patrols still reaching the edge of, and possibly crossing into, Canadian airspace, University of Calgary military analyst Rob Huebert said he sees any Russian naval build-up as a concern, especially because it includes amphibious assault vessels. "That suggests a far more aggressive capability," he said. "That inevitably is going to have challenges for Canada." Toronto Sun 


Coast Guard SealCoast Guard Tests Arctic Oil Spill Recovery Methods. The Coast Guard and the Navy has been doing an oil spill recovery drill for the last few days north of Barrow. The Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore deployed a skimmer system and tested it. Then it deployed a containment boom system developed for the Navy. And on the third day it ran a test of a special skimmer designed to recover oil floating in pockets in the ice. The "Polar Bear" skimmer was earlier tested on the Great Lakes, but this was the first time the pocket skimmer was tested in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean waters off Alaska. The hope is that a buoy tender can be used for this. The cutter had to be moored to a barge pulled in from Prudhoe Bay. Alaska Public Radio

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


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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