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February 9, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will resume consideration of surface transportation legislation. The House will consider insider-trading legislation. Both the House and Senate will be in recess tomorrow.



coldwindsblowingJanuary 2012 Fourth Warmest for Contiguous United States, but Alaska Extremely Cold. During January, warmer-than-average conditions enveloped most of the contiguous United States, with widespread below-average precipitation. The overall weather pattern for the month was reflected in the lack of snow for much of the Northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. This scenario was in stark contrast to Alaska where several towns had their coldest January on record. Science Daily 


Arctic Warfare Computer Games Includes Canadian Navy:A new computer game about Arctic warfare will be released this spring. The game, Naval War: Arctic Circle, is set in the Arctic in the year 2030 and includes the HMCS Halifax in simulated sea battles. The world at odds over Arctic sovereignty and resources. "You would be the admiral of the armed forces of your side of whatever conflict," said Norwegian developer Jan Haugland. Over the internet, players would lead Russian or NATO forces in battle. The playing field is 36,000 kilometers of ice-free Arctic waters. CBC News 


USCGlogoRear Adm. Ostebo Meets with Alaska Mayors. Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, Coast Guard District 17 commander, spoke with Mayor Shirley Marquardt, of Unalaska, Chris Hladick, Unalaska city manager, Mayor Denise Michels, of Nome, and Capt. Greg Sanial, chief of enforcement, at meeting at District 17 headquarters Feb. 8, 2012. Municipal leaders from Nome, Unalaska and the Northwest Arctic Borough visited Juneau to discuss the Coast Guard's plans for increased Arctic activity this summer. US Coast Guard 



oil spill in open oceanBSEE and NOAA to Complete Arctic Oil Spill Response Mapping Tool. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today they are partnering to enhance the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMAŽ) for the Arctic region by summer 2012. ERMAŽ is the same interactive online mapping tool used by federal responders during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This effort will help address numerous challenges in the Arctic where increasing ship traffic and proposed energy development are increasing the risk of oil spills and chemical releases. NOAA 


defense spendingNATO's and the Pentagon's New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic. NATO forces are preparing themselves for Cold Response 2012 - military games with up to 16 thousand troops as well as fighting ships and aircraft from Great Britain, Denmark, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, France, Sweden and the USA to take part. NATO countries and neutral Sweden cooperate in the Polar region in light of Russia's increasing activities. The format of the NATO-Sweden exercises proves once more that the Arctic is perhaps the only region where the political alignment hasn't changed since the Cold War, i.e., Russia opposing other countries. The Center for Research on Globalization 


Critical for the Opening Arctic: A Bering Strait Vessel Traffic Service. Nations and multi-national corporations are positioning themselves to take full advantage of the Arctic's Northwest Passage (NWP) and Northern Sea Route (NSR). However, there is very little safety infrastructure in place to ensure incident-free transit. Both of these Sea Lines of Communication terminate in the Bering Strait, the gateway to the Arctic. In this critical water space it is essential the United States and Russia begin considering how to manage traffic through this strategic choke point. In September 2011, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at the second International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia's "intention to turn the NSR into a key transport route of global importance." PM Putin further said, "We believe that NSR has a bright future as an international transport artery capable of being a competitor to more traditional routes, both when it comes to price, safety and quality". Subsequently, Russia has announced it intends to build ten arctic rescue centers, develop a new arctic rescue ship, develop military ice-capable transports and construct new icebreakers to replace its aging fleet. Alaska Dispatch


Earth's Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought: Better technology yields better data. Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually-which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder. If the amount of ice lost between 2003 and 2010 covered the United States, the whole country would be under one-and-a-half feet of water, or it'd fill Lake Erie eight times, researchers say. Ocean levels worldwide are rising about six hundredths of an inch per year, according to researcher John Wahr. While vast quantities of ice melting into the ocean is not exactly good news, Wahr says, according to his team's estimates, about 30 percent less ice is melting than previously thought. US News


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


The Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, February 14 2012. The parliamentarians will discuss Arctic cooperation with the Chair of the Arctic Council Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Further on the agenda are issues including oil and gas development and the effect of climate change on human health. 


Arctic Policy Forum, February 15, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment


Pew: Arctic Ocean Energy Development, February 24, 2012. The Pew Environment Group will host a panel discussion on Arctic Ocean energy development. Panelist will be Michael R. Bromwich, former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement; Edward Itta, former mayor of North Slope Borough, Alaska; Vice Adm. Roger T. Rufe, U.S. Coast Guard (retired); and Fran Ulmer, member of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission, and now Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. 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. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 9, and the panel will be from 9 to 10:30 at the Pew offices 901 E Street NW Washington DC 20004. Please RSVP to


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


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  


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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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