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December 7, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess until next week.  Behind the scenes, negotiations continue on avoiding the fiscal cliff.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. 




thiniceArctic's Loss of Sea Ice Sets Record: Scientists Say the Retreat of Snow and Ice Shows the Self-Perpetuating Momentum of Global Warming. A fast-changing Arctic broke new records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, as well as the extent of the summertime melt of the Greenland ice sheet, federal scientists reported Wednesday. The latest report about the melting Arctic comes as frustrations flared in Doha, Qatar, over the slow progress at United Nations climate talks to reach a global agreement on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The buildup of the gases is elevating average global temperatures, with the most pronounced changes in the northernmost latitudes. Los Angeles Times


Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May be Bigger Than Thought. Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies, presented here this week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop. Disappearing Arctic ice, which gets most of the attention from climate scientists, is an effect of humanmade climate change. By contrast, the melting of frozen soil, or permafrost, can drive warming. As it thaws, microbes devour carbon previously locked inside, unleashing carbon dioxide-a potent greenhouse gas-in the process. The carbon dioxide amplifies the warming power of carbon pollution in a vicious feedback loop. Science AAAS


Researchers Pinpoint 1,500-Year Cycle in Arctic Atmospheric Pattern. A team of scientists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has identified for the first time a clear 1,500-year cycle in the far North's surface atmosphere pressure pattern. Called the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the cycle greatly influences weather in the Northern Hemisphere. Lead researcher Dennis Darby, a geological oceanographer at Virginia's Old Dominion University, used the findings to describe a worst-case scenario in which the cyclical pressure pattern could combine with man-made climate change to exacerbate severe weather and flooding trends. Sit News


shellFailure of Shell Spill-Containment Dome Draws New Attack from Drilling Critic. Reports that Shell's oil spill response dome was "crushed like a beer can" during testing have heightened criticism of drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska. Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, is arguing the test should make the Obama administration rethink its support of Shell's Arctic efforts. Anchorage Daily News


Canadian Arctic Naval Facility Moving Ahead. Progress is being made on the Nanisivik Naval Facility near Arctic Bay, Nunavut. Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced the $100 million project in 2007. Earlier this year, plans for the facility were significantly scaled back. Officials blamed the high cost of building in the North saying the $100 million committed to the project won't go as far as predicted. Alaska Dispatch


canadian flagPlans to Resume Drilling in Canadian Arctic Advancing: Minister. A partnership of Imperial Oil, ExxonMobil and BP could file for regulatory approval to restart exploration drilling in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, with oil the primary target, as early as summer 2013, Northwest Territories Industry Minister Dave Ramsay said Thursday. The key players in the Canadian Arctic are "anxious to move forward and are looking at the Beaufort as an opportunity" to ship oil to southern Canadian and to US markets, bolstered by prospects of a major find in the Canol shale play of the Central Mackenzie Valley, he said in a phone interview from New Orleans. Platts


The Arctic Ocean is Open for Business. On Tuesday, the liquid natural gas, or LNG, tanker Ob River delivered natural gas from Norway to Japan. While gas deliveries between the two countries happen all the time, this is the first time an LNG tanker took the Northern Sea Route, or NSR, between the two countries. Arctic ice hit a record low earlier this year and remains depressed. Companies are taking advantage of that, and this shipment shows the Arctic Ocean is open to winter business. Daily Finance


Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Appear to be Inching Forward: Could No News Be Good News When It Comes to Talks Between the White House and Boehner? The adage in Washington is that if nobody is talking about what they're really talking about, that's a good sign for getting a deal. In what may be just such a positive sign, President Barack Obama, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and their aides on Thursday seemed to be zipping their lips on the behind-the-scenes fiscal cliff talks after a private Wednesday phone call between the two men. Of course, both sides also continued their public relations fight over debt and taxes. Congressional Quarterly


capitalAppointment Speculation Centers on Rep. Tim Scott. GOP Sen. Jim DeMint's surprise announcement that he will resign in January set off an intense game of speculation Thursday about who will be appointed to succeed him in the South Carolina seat and the musical chairs that could follow. Gov. Nikki R. Haley has the sole power to appoint DeMint's successor, who will serve through the 113th Congress. A special election will be held to fill the remainder of DeMint's term on Nov. 4, 2014 - the same day Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is on the ballot. Congressional Quarterly


Thune Next in Line for Senate Commerce Slot. Sen. John Thune appears headed toward taking the ranking member slot on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that will open up in the 113th Congress because of the resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. DeMint, currently the No. 3 Republican on the committee, had been expected to assume the ranking member job next year, following the retirements of Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. But DeMint announced Thursday that he will resign in early January to head the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Congressional Quarterly  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


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. 


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.


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.


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.  


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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