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July 24, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider legislation to temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts. The House will consider several items under suspension of the rules and begin consideration of legislation to replace the administration's five-year offshore leasing plan.



Polar Bear Eating Fish Polar Bear Evolution Tracked Climate Change. An analysis of newly sequenced polar bear genomes is providing important clues about the species' evolution, suggesting that climate change and genetic exchange with brown bears helped create the polar bear as we know it today. Science Daily 




Tourists Rise in 'Cool Water' Cruise Passengers. A record number of European passengers are booking cruises to the Arctic regions, the Norwegian fjords and the British Isles, new data shows. A total of 1.49 million cruise passengers are expected this year in the Northern European region, up 16% from 1.28 million last year. The number of passengers cruising the Arctic region, including Iceland, is expected to rise by 37%. Cruises to the Norwegian fjords are likely to see a 29% increase in passengers. Travel Weekly 


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard to Conduct Its First Ever Oil Spill Test in Arctic. With Royal Dutch Shell possibly on the eve of exploring for oil off Alaska's Arctic coasts -- and other companies waiting in the wings -- the U.S. Coast Guard plans its first ever oil spill response drill in the fragile region next week. The exercise will be part of the agency's effort to beef up its presence in the largely untouched Arctic Ocean, as ship traffic rises due in part to increased industrial interests in potential undersea riches. The guardian of the nation's high seas recently stationed two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and associated personnel in Barrow, a city of 4,200 where polar bears saunter ashore in search of food and Eskimo whalers in small boats kill bowhead whales as large as semi-trucks. Alaska Dispatch 


Mars: Scientists Turn to Arctic to Research Red Planet. A team of scientists are back for their 16th summer in the High Arctic, using Devon Island's Haughton Crater, in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, as a stand-in for Mars. "It's bleak and it's beautiful and it just takes you to Mars as soon as you go there," said Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and director of NASA's Haughton-Mars Project. The uninhabited island, located east of Resolute and south of Grise Fiord, is a rocky polar desert marked by an ancient rock impact -- a terrain similar to that of the red planet. Alaska Dispatch 


Kotzebue Fishery Starts Strong. Fishermen in the Kotzebue Sound region may well feel like Christmas came in July this summer. Mainly because the commercial salmon fishery in the area has been producing above-average returns thus far. The Kotzebue Sound fishery opened last week with several 8-hour windows for harvest chum salmon. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game expect more than 250,000 chum to be collected during the harvest, which was created when Great Pacific Seafood notified the state it planned to purchase salmon from the Kotzebue Sound in 2012. One thing is for certain, fishermen in the Kotzebue region aren't complaining. "Compared to last year, we doing really well," said Sally McClellan, a retired school teacher who has fished in the area for more than two decades. "It has been a very healthy start to the season." The Arctic Sounder


Bristol Bay Brings Home More Than Half of Alaska's Sockeyes. The red salmon catch at Bristol Bay is on its way to 20 million fish and will very likely go higher, due to a strong run of more than 30 million fish. The reds were still surging into the region's five big rivers and should serve to boost the harvest beyond the forecast of nearly 22 million fish. With all the salmon fisheries going on every summer all across Alaska, you might wonder why so much attention is focused on Bristol Bay? The answer can be summed up in two words: sockeye salmon. Bristol Bay's rivers are home to the largest red salmon runs in the world. Arctic Sounder


Arctic Map Watching Government: Arctic Resource Contradictions. Arctic offshore oil and gas resources extend beyond North America, experts reminded their audience at a July 12 forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Research. They noted that Russia, Norway, Greenland, and Iceland also see potential and challenges beneath their far northern waters. "There's a lot going on here, but there's also a lot of hype," observed Charles Emmerson, a senior research fellow in the energy, environment, and development program at Chatham House in London. "It's a lot more complicated and uncertain than many people say." He said that in talking about Arctic oil and gas development, it's important to remember there's not one Arctic, but many. Oil and Gas Journal

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events    


healthmeetinglogo15th 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 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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  


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.

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