Arctic Update Header
January 11, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will not hold formal sessions, subject to the call of the chairs.

Media Reviewtodaysevents 


House's 'No Child' Bill Reflects Significant Split from Senate.

House Republicans may have opted to adopt the Senate's more comprehensive approach to overhauling the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, but the proposals show significant policy gaps between the chambers. House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., introduced two draft bills last week that would replace the law's school accountability system and establish teacher-effectiveness measures. But in doing so, he abandoned bipartisan talks for rewriting the decade-old law (PL 107-110), saying negotiations on his committee had stopped making progress and that continuing the talks would only stall the process further. Congressional Quarterly


White House appointment on Polar Science. Dr. Brendan P. Kelly, a marine KellyBrendanmammal expert, has been detailed from the National Science Foundation, where he served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Arctic Sciences, to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he is the Assistant Director for Polar Science. He will be a primary point of contact for Arctic (and Antarctic) issues, replacing Dr. Kate Moran who departed this position in August 2011. Prior to NSF, Kelly served for over 30 years as a research scientist and faculty member at the University of Alaska, and most recently as the Vice Provost & Dean of Arts and Sciences at University of Alaska Southeast. He's also worked for the State of Alaska's Department of Fish and Game and for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. His research interests include under-ice navigation by ringed seals, population dynamics of Pacific walruses, analysis of walrus food habits, biology and management of sea otters, population biology of Pacific harbor seals and polar bear predation on ringed seals.


The Arctic Institute: Center for Circumpolar Security Studies. Check it out. Founded by Malte Humpert in August 2011, the Institute provides an interdisciplinary platform that brings together scholars and researchers and to increase knowledge and expertise on the Arctic region. The Institute wants to become an independent and geographically diverse source for information and in-depth analysis about developments in the High North and to establish it as an authoritative think tank for the Arctic region. TAI.  


Admiral Defends Posture in Asia, Middle East Under New Military Strategy. The Navy chief on Tuesday said he believes the number of ships currently deployed to the western Pacific will meet the needs of a new Asia-focused defense strategy unveiled by the Pentagon earlier this month. During a speech at a Center for a New American Security event, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said the 50 ships currently deployed to the region represent the "right proportion" needed in the Pacific for at least the near term. "It's not a big Navy buildup in the Far East," he said. "We're there, we have been there, we continue to be there." Congressional Quarterly


Polar bearIce Posing Polar Problems: Warmer weather means bears can't hunt properly: scientists. Even though the ice came early to Hudson Bay, it took too long for that ice to stay -- and experts say its slow formation sent some of Canada's polar bears to the brink of starvation. Polar bears weren't able to get onto the ice to hunt seals until early December this winter, which observers say is becoming the norm."Those bears are all lining up along the coast line waiting for the ice to form," said David Barber, who holds the Canada research chair in Arctic science at the University of Manitoba. "They're basically all starving. They are really at their limit biologically." Polar bears depend on winter seal hunting to build up enough fat to carry them through the lean summer months on land. The bears lose at least one kilogram of fat a day when they aren't on the ice. Given they are off the ice for up to 150 days, the hefty bears can lose well over 100 kilograms -- leaving some emaciated by the time the ice freezes again. Winnipeg Free Press 


belugaA Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Population Crash? Cook Inlet's endangered beluga whale population has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 20 years, with just 284 of the enigmatic white whales counted last summer. But federal biologists caution the beluga numbers may not have fallen as steeply as the 20 percent decline from 2010 suggests. The number of beluga deaths reported in 2011 was particularly low, raising questions about the population survey conducted in June. Other factors also changed compared to the 2010 survey, including survey conditions and the distribution of the belugas. Alaska Dispatch 


Arctic Sea Ice Continues to Shrink, Even in Frigid Winter. Even as winter clamps down, our polar ice cap continues to dwindle. Despite the arrival of frigid winter temperatures north of Alaska, the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean ended 2011 far below average in both extent and volume, continuing its decades-long shrink toward summer oblivion, according to the most recent estimates posted online by polar observers. The total mass of ice -- its surface footprint plus the bulk hidden beneath the surface -- has never been lower for this time of year. The area covered was third smallest since 1979, with vast areas of ocean north of Europe remaining ice-free. "Ice extent was particularly low on the Atlantic side of the Arctic, most notably in the Barents and Kara Sea," reported the National Snow & Ice Data Center in its January 5th update. "The eastern coast of Hudson Bay did not freeze entirely until late in the month: normally, Hudson Bay has completely frozen over by the beginning of December. In the Bering Sea, ice extent was slightly above average." Alaska Dispatch 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions. Click here


Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2012.   Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here. 


Juneau Arctic Policy Forum, February 2, 2012. The Juneau Arctic Policy Forum will be hosted by the Institute of the North and will highlight the work done to develop and promote Alaska's role in Arctic decision-making. There will be presentations and discussion about the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Arctic Caucus and results from the Northern Waters Task Force. We also hope to include updates from the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Alaska. Click here.  


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 high-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 together 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


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 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


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent 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. 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 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. For more information, click here. 

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)