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February 21, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will hold pro forma sessions today.


US-Russia Relations, today. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion titled "The Fate of the 'Reset' During Political Open Seasons in Russia and the U.S.: Prospects for Change and Continuity."



Dead for 32,000 Years, an Arctic Plant is Revived. Living plants have been generated from the fruit of a little arctic flower, the narrow-leafed campion, that died 32,000 years ago, a team of Russian scientists reports. The fruit was stored by an arctic ground squirrel in its burrow on the tundra of northeastern Siberia and lay permanently frozen until excavated by scientists a few years ago. This would be the oldest plant by far that has ever been grown from ancient tissue. The present record is held by a date palm grown from a seed some 2,000 years old that was recovered from the ancient fortress of Masada in Israel. New York Times


 Healy, Coast GuardMTNW Announces NSF Award to Retrofit US Coast Guard Icebreakers Healy & Polar Sea, Measurement Technology NW brings modern winch instrument and monitoring to the US Coast Guard. Measurement Technology NW (MTNW) announces award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to upgrade winch monitoring technology for the Coast Guard Icebreakers Healy and Polar Sea. This award brings new MTNW hardware and software technology to the support of winch operations; which are mission critical to these Arctic research vessels. NSF and the Coast Guard are working with MTNW because the Line Control Instruments' (LCI) monitoring and control system provides advanced technology for on-deck safety, reliability, and research accuracy. "The recent change in the operating safety standards for NSF-funded vessels has required a technology upgrade on active vessels," said Tom Rezanka, Managing Director of MTNW. "Our winch technology exceeds the newly-adopted standards, and will both increase safety for personnel and enhance marine research in the Arctic." PR Web 


Gray WhaleGray Whales Are Straying Far From Usual Grounds, Find deepens mystery of their dwindling numbers. When scientists fired a cigar-sized satellite tag into the blubber of a western gray whale off Russia's Sakhalin Island in September, they expected to track her along Asia's Pacific shoreline down to the South China Sea. To their surprise, the young female turned up off Mexico's Baja Peninsula. The sudden travel bug that infected Varvara, the 9-year-old female now meandering in waters near Baja's Magdalena Bay, has deepened a mystery that has scientists the world over pondering what is happening to a tiny population of critically endangered western gray whales. Only 130 of the whales remain, feeding off of Sakhalin Island, not far from two offshore oil platforms. Merced Sun-Star 


Global Warming Increases Health Risks for Inuits. A Canadian researcher says indigenous people around the world are among the most vulnerable to climate change. They may be increasingly susceptible to pathogen loads found in drinking water after heavy rainfall or rapid snow melt, according to the preliminary findings of Sherilee Harper, a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar in Aboriginal People's Health at the University of Guelph, who says that there has been a significant increase in the incidence of diarrhea and vomiting following these weather events. Summit County Citizens Voice   


[Canada] Northern Legislators Cite 'Serious Concerns' Over Nutrition North, February 20 letter sent to federal aboriginal affairs, health ministers. Northern legislators have launched a pan-Arctic effort to let the federal government know what they think about its Nutrition North Canada Program. Legislators representing northern constituencies in five provinces and territories have sent a jointly-penned letter to the federal ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Health, warning that the new program is failing to make food more accessible in isolated communities. Nunatsiaq Online


canadian flagClimate Change Boosts Need for Bigger Presence in Arctic: Canadian Navy Head. The head of the Royal Canadian Navy says Canada needs to bolster its military presence in the Arctic to prepare for a boom in human and economic activity resulting largely from climate change. Global warming is thought to be occurring faster in the North than anywhere else. The gradual disappearance of sea ice is opening up commercial shipping as well as previously inaccessible areas rich with oil, natural gas and mineral resources. The Star 


Spring Has Sprung: Gray Whales Begin Alaska Migration. The annual North Pacific gray whale migration has just now begun to morph from its wintertime Baja-bound mode back into the spring surge North to Alaska, according to the latest dispatch posted on the educational website Journey North. "We are right in the middle of our migration turnaround, with gray whales going in both directions," says American Cetacean Society director Alisa Schulman-Janiger. "February 10 was the first date that we saw more northbound grays than southbounders. However, on February 11 we had mostly southbound grays; this  flip-flopping is to be expected throughout the next week during this turnaround time as the southbound migration tails off and the northbound migration picks up." Alaska Dispatch


AK Native family drawingQ&A: What Can Indigenous People Tell Us About Climate Change? The Arctic has become the frontline for observing the effects of anthropogenic climate change, from rising ocean temperatures to shrinking sea ice cover. These changes have greatly impacted the traditional practices of indigenous Arctic communities, which rely on sea ice for hunting and travel. In recent years, climate scientists have sought the multigenerational and intimate knowledge that indigenous people have of their environment. How can scientists use this knowledge to improve climate projections and models while respecting indigenous culture? Igor Krupnik, an anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institution, has studied the indigenous communities of Alaska and northern Russia for 40 years. He spoke at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW) on environmental observations that indigenous experts recorded from 2000 to 2010 recently. Please review the link for a transcript of a recent interview with Mr. Krupnik. Science NOW 


Arctic MapCan Arctic Nations Cooperate Amid 'Race' To Top of the World? Analysis: Boris Nemtsov, co-president of the opposition People's Freedom Party in Russia, has spoken out against Putin's stance in the Arctic -- in Canada. He is currently crossing the True North Strong and Free on a speaking tour organized by the Central and Eastern European Council. Nemtsov has been an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and the fact that the PFP was denied registration to be listed on the ballots in the Dec. 4 Duma elections made him an even more strident opponent. In an interview with Sun News Network, Nemtsov declared, Putin's "main political idea and main trend is to be a fighter against the West." Alaska Dispatch 


From 'Science from Above' to 'Science in the Community.' Most research initiatives aim to discover more knowledge. The International Polar Year (IPY) went even further; it created more discoverers. That is what Canadian Arctic researcher David Hik will tell this week's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver. "For the first time in the 130-year history of international polar years, people living in polar regions were not just objects of study-they led studies," said Hik. Science Codex


ringsealMonths Later, Arctic Ring Seal Deaths Leave Scientists Flummoxed. Radiation does not appear to be causing the mysterious affliction that has sickened and killed scores of Arctic ringed seals. Preliminary tests of a few tissue samples of healthy and sick seals show no evidence of radiation exposure, said the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in a press release issued Friday. Walrus, some of which have been spotted with the unusual lesions on their skin, are also being tested. "At this point, scientists do not believe that radiation is a primary factor in this unusual mortality event or that radiation is causing the symptoms and deaths in pinnipeds," said the agency. Some have wondered whether radiation from the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan last year caused the unusual affliction that has been most evident in the smaller ringed seals. Symptoms have included ulcers on organs, patchy hair loss, and open sores, especially around the rear flippers and eyes. Alaska Dispatch


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered on Friday.

Future Events                                   


Pew: Arctic Ocean Energy Development, February 24, 2012. (** New space and additional RSVPs will be accepted**)The Pew Environment Group will host a panel discussion on Arctic Ocean energy development. Panelist will be Fran Ulmer, member of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission, and now Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Michael R. Bromwich, former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement; Edward Itta, former mayor of North Slope Borough, Alaska; and Vice Adm. Roger T. Rufe, U.S. Coast Guard (retired). Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew's U.S. Arctic Program, will moderate. The speakers will address the challenges facing energy exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, such as oil spill response, Coast Guard readiness, infrastructure needs, and how to best protect wildlife habitat and subsistence areas. 


Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click here


Fiscal 2013 Budget: Native American Programs, March 8, 2012. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2013 budget request for Native American programs.


Fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization: Southern and Northern Commands, March 13, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Northern Command in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2013 and the future years' defense program. The session may be closed.


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 to follow. 


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.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, 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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