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December 10, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The Senate will consider Federal Deposit Insurance legislation. The House is not in session.


Marine Mammal Commission meeting on Tribal Consultation, December 10-12, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with representatives of other federal agencies, Alaska Native organizations, the Environmental Law Institute, and other interested parties to review and seek ways to improve consultations between federal agencies and Alaska Native Tribes. The focus will be on the consultation process and will include, but not be limited to, matters involving marine mammals. In the course of the meeting, the Commission expects to discuss issues related to the authorities for Alaska Native consultations, the role of the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM) in consultations, the relationship between consultation and co-management, and lessons learned from conflict avoidance agreements. 



thiniceWe Could Refreeze Arctic, Says Study; Should We? A record loss of Arctic sea ice and faster-than-expected melting of Greenland's ice cap made worldwide headlines in 2012, but research published in major science journals in the fall suggest warming in the North doesn't have to continue. We could refreeze the Arctic, proposed a paper in Nature Climate Change. It wouldn't even cost that much, said an affiliated study in Environmental Research Letters. Regina Leader-Post


ATC: Arctic JIP Builds Spill Response Knowledge, Outlines Research Plans. An Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Program (JIP) will continue building knowledge on Arctic offshore oil spill response expertise already developed through 40 years of research by individual companies and other organizations, speakers told the Arctic Technology Conference Dec. 4. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers is providing JIP with project management expertise, and nine oil and gas companies already belong to JIP, which plans a series of advanced research projects on six key areas of research within 10 projects. Researchers from member companies are involved in technical working groups responsible for individual research projects, said Joe Mullin, JIP program manager. Oil & Gas Journal


Climatologist Suggests Arctic Circle be a No-Fly Zone. A climatologist in the United States says the Arctic Circle should be a no-fly zone for major commercial flights. In a new report, Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil engineering at Stanford University in California, says black soot from commercial jets is attracting heat from the sun. Airlines first started flying over the Arctic in 1998, when Russia agreed to allow other countries to fly planes in its airspace. CBC News


Oil Whale ExxonATC: Industry Eager to Advance Arctic Oil Spill Response Skills. Few experimental spills have been done offshore the US and Canada in the last 20 years, noted a speaker at the Arctic Technology Conference in Houston on Dec. 4 during a panel discussion on oil spill preparedness. "If we want to refine our spill response, we have to get out and practice. Experimental spills are the way to do that," said Steve Potter, a principal with consulting firm SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd. SL Ross has a laboratory for spill-related oil testing, yet Potter advocated that permits be granted for experimental spills to enhance oil spill response research in actual field conditions. He noted more recent experimental spills have been done off Norway than North America. Oil & Gas Journal


Inuit urge the International community to acknowledge that Sea Ice and Permafrost play a vital role for our Global Future. ICC released a statement in Doha, Qatar during the UNFCCC COP 18 today. Inuit continue to observe and experience the impacts of rapid climate change in the Arctic. Inuit call on global leaders to make the most of the 2013-2015 review and second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and take immediate action to mitigate CO2 emissions while continuing to build capacity and commit funding for adaptation. ICC-Canada's President, Duane Smith stated that " Rapid changes in the Arctic environment as observed by Inuit and scientists confirm the unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice and permafrost. Recent sea ice loss findings from the National Snow and Ice data center and the most recent UNEP report on warming permafrost support our observations.  The connection between sea ice loss and global events is increasingly evident as recent unprecedented flooding in Venice and the super storm Sandy in the eastern United States.  Both forecast the future for the entire planet." Link to ICC's website: here. 


Canada Arctic Housing Needs Private and Public Sector Support: Report. Private-sector help and innovative designs are making headway in improving substandard housing in Canada's North, says a new report from the Conference Board of Canada. But the demand still outstrips supply and the need for government-funded building isn't going to diminish anytime soon, said author Anja Jeffrey. "There is simply not enough fully subsidized public housing available for people in the North," said Jeffrey. "Private market housing in the North is still a long ways off." Huffington Post Canada


Tundra fireSoot: The Little-Discussed Impact of Wildfires in Greenland Snowpack Melting. Smoke from Arctic wildfires have been drifting over the Greenland ice sheet, tarnishing the ice with soot and making it more likely to melt under the sun, according to satellite observations. NASA's Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite captured smoke from Arctic fires billowing out over Greenland during the summer of 2012. Researchers have long been concerned with how the Greenland landscape is losing its sparkly reflective quality as temperatures rise. The surface is darkening as ice melts away, and, since dark surfaces are less reflective than light ones, the surface captures more heat, which leads to stronger and more prolonged melting. Science 2.0


Researchers to Meet in Vancouver Monday to Discuss Arctic Issues. Leading Arctic scientists, researchers, policy makers, NGOs, and northern stakeholders will meet in Vancouver starting tomorrow to discuss climate change, food security, Inuit education, sovereignty and other pressing issues facing the Canadian Arctic. More from the news release from the organizers "The Arctic is changing rapidly," said Louis Fortier, ArcticNet's scientific director. "Arctic ice is melting at record- rates, new shipping routes are opening up and industries are showing keen interests in potential opportunities in the area. With Canada on the eve of taking over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, this year's meeting will address some of the major challenges and opportunities brought by climate change and modernization in the Arctic." Ottawa Citizen


Scientists Catalog Effect of Climate Change on Birds Near Barrow. From a lecture hall within a land of warm breezes and flowering December plants comes a story of a creature 2,600 miles north, where the sun will not rise for another 50 days. At the 2012 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, biologist George Divoky had 15 minutes to present his lifetime of work with a bird that adapted to year-round life in the Arctic during the last ice age. Divoky led off a lecture session on Barrow-area research by describing his four decades of studying birds that probably would not exist without his efforts - the black guillemots of Cooper Island, Alaska. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Compass: Freighter's Grounding is a Lesson we Need to Heed. [Opinion] When the Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu grounded in the Aleutian Islands eight years ago, it was a tragic reminder of the risks of northern shipping. While en route from Seattle to China in a Bering Sea storm, the ship's engine failed. As it drifted toward shore, there were no adequate ocean tugs available to take it in-tow, and it grounded off Unalaska on December 8, 2004. Six crewmen were lost, the vessel broke in half, and its entire cargo and 335,000 gallons of fuel spilled, killing thousands of seabirds and other wildlife, closing fisheries, and contaminating many miles of shoreline. The tragedy was caused by a combination of human error, financial pressures, mechanical failure, and lax government oversight. For a time, the disaster focused attention the risks of northern shipping, but complacency quickly returned. Today, the Selendang disaster is all but forgotten, and with increasing ship traffic, the risk is now greater than ever. Anchorage Daily News


capitalHouse Chairman and Ranking Members in the Next Congress. House leaders have chosen the following members to be chairmen and ranking members of committees in the 113th Congress, with several changes from the 112th Congress. Including Science, Space and Technology

- Chairman: Lamar Smith, Texas*  Smith trades in his Judiciary gavel to take over from Ralph M. Hall of Texas. At Judiciary, Smith paid particular attention to Internet governance and other tech issues, such as the E-Verify system.

- Ranking member: Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas

Roll Call


GOP Divided Over Rewrite of Clean Air Laws. Two senior Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have different views about the feasibility and wisdom of trying to overhaul the Clean Air Act in the next Congress. Former Chairman Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, said he thinks the House should avoid trying to reopen the Clean Air Act until the political environment is more favorable and stakeholders develop a consensus on how to change the law. Congressional Quarterly



Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


Marine Mammal Commission Meeting on Research and Management Priorities, December 14, 2012. The Commission plans to meet with regional management and scientific officials in each of the National Marine Fisheries Service's six regions to identify the most pressing marine mammal research and management needs. The Commission will use these meetings to develop a set of national priorities for guiding federal conservation efforts for marine mammals. Members of the public are invited to attend these meetings and to provide comments concerning priority issues.


**Abstract submission period EXTENDED through December 15th**

Wakefield28th 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.  


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.

Go to ISCA Town Hall meeting, at the American Geophysical Union meeting, Moscone West Room 2010, right after SEARCH meeting that ends at 7:15 pm. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include

response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

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