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June 22, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess. 


Nominations are requested for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) request nominations for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee (SAC). SCICEX (Science Ice Exercise) is the US Federal inter-agency submarine Arctic science program. The SAC advises the Federal agencies on scientific priorities, makes recommendations for baseline data collection, and periodically reviews these and updates the SCICEX Phase II Science Plan. The SAC members represent the fields of sea ice geophysics, physical oceanography, biological oceanography and marine geophysics. The SAC typically meets once per year, usually at either ONR or NSF. Nominations are currently sought for a sea ice geophysicist and marine geophysicist. Nominations should include the name, scientific background and accomplishments of the nominee, and a brief statement as to why they would be a good choice for SAC membership. Experience with submarine-based science is not required. Nominations should be sent to Dr. Martin Jeffries ( and Dr. Erica Key ( no later than 31 July 2012. For more information about SCICEX, including the current SAC membership and the Phase II Science Plan, go to





Arctic Climate More Vulnerable Than Thought, Maybe Linked to Antarctic Ice-Sheet Behavior. First analyses of the longest sediment core ever collected on land in the Arctic, published this week in Science, provide dramatic, "astonishing" documentation that intense warm intervals, warmer than scientists thought possible, occurred there over the past 2.8 million years. Science Daily 


harry reidReid Cautiously Optimistic of Confirmation of Any Commerce Nominee. Majority Leader Harry Reid put fair odds Thursday on President Obama's chances of winning confirmation of a "consensus nominee" to permanently head the Commerce Department after John Bryson's resignation as secretary. But some conservative Republicans raised doubts about whether the Senate would confirm a replacement before year's end and renewed calls to eliminate the department. "I would hope the president could get a consensus nominee forward and we could get it done. The Commerce Department is important," Reid said. Congressional Quarterly


Polar bearWitnesses Praise Positive role of Hunting on Conversation Management. The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight recently held a hearing to examine the science used to inform wildlife management decisions that involve hunting. "As a hunter who was first introduced to the sport by my father when I was 6 years old, I am personally aware of the positive impacts of managed hunts in America and overseas," said Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA).  "However, there may be some who are not aware of these positive impacts and how the science of hunting assists species conservation and management." In addition to hunting on federal, state, and local public lands, privately owned game ranches also enable hunting of specific species of animals, including some that are either endangered or extinct internationally. Witnesses today discussed how these ranches play an important part in the effort to boost the overall numbers of certain species, including their reintroduction into the wild. Existing federal regulations that authorized limited hunting of these species have been challenged in federal courts, resulting in a January 2012 final rule issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service that poses new challenges to these game ranches, ultimately impacting species conservation. House Science and Technology Committee  


House Spending Panel Unveils Deep Cuts to EPA. House Republican appropriators on Tuesday unveiled a 2013 spending bill with deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. Overall the newly revealed 2013 Interior and Environment bill has $28 billion in funding - a cut of $1.2 billion below 2012 levels. It also contains numerous riders that prevent environmental rules. They include riders to limit the reach of Clean Water Act regulations and block President Obama's National Ocean Policy. The Hill 


The Melting North. Standing on the Greenland ice cap, it is obvious why restless modern man so reveres wild places. Everywhere you look, ice draws the eye, squeezed and chiselled by a unique coincidence of forces. Gormenghastian ice ridges, silver and lapis blue, ice mounds and other frozen contortions are minutely observable in the clear Arctic air. The great glaciers impose order on the icy sprawl, flowing down to a semi-frozen sea. The ice cap is still, frozen in perturbation. There is not a breath of wind, no engine's sound, no bird's cry, no hubbub at all. Instead of noise, there is its absence. You feel it as a pressure behind the temples and, if you listen hard, as a phantom roar. For generations of frosty-whiskered European explorers, and still today, the ice sheet is synonymous with the power of nature. The Economist 


Remote Siberian Lake Holds Clues to Arctic- and Antarctic- Climate Change. That result comes from the first analyses of the longest sediment cores ever retrieved on land. They were obtained from beneath remote, ice-covered Lake El'gygytgyn (pronounced El'gee-git-gin) ("Lake E") in the northeastern Russian Arctic. The journal Science published the findings this week. They show that the extreme warm periods in the Arctic correspond closely with times when parts of Antarctica were also ice-free and warm, suggesting a strong connection between Northern and Southern Hemisphere climate. The polar regions are much more vulnerable to climate change than researchers thought, say the National Science Foundation-(NSF) funded Lake E project's co-chief scientists: Martin Melles of the University of Cologne, Germany; Julie Brigham-Grette of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Pavel Minyuk of Russia's North-East Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute in Magadan. Science Blog 


defense spendingRussian Air Force Holds War Games in Arctic. The Russian Air Force is holding large-scale exercises in the Arctic. As part of the maneuvers, various types of aircraft - from long-range bombers to fighter jets - will be tested. The exercises shall demonstrate the possibilities of using long-range aviation in local non-nuclear conflicts, including in the area beyond the Arctic Circle. The choice of the Arctic as the site for exercises is not by accident. Interest towards this region continues to grow; in 2012 all arctic countries have already held, or are holding large scale war games here. There are not many alternatives to the Arctic for Russian long-range aviation. This region is the main "classroom" for the strategic missile carriers: large sparsely populated areas are perfect for training. However, the aims of today's exercises are somewhat different. Besides traditional long-range launches of cruise missiles, strategic bombers are also testing interaction with fighting aviation - SU-27s and MIG 31s - as well as the use of tactical ammunition. Not only fighters and bombers are taking part in the maneuvers, but also A-50 radar aircraft and Il-78 air tankers performing aerial refueling. The Voice of Russia 


Arctic Sanctuary Pitched at Earth Summit in Rio: Canada condemned for Arctic sovereignty crusade as celebs decry oil drilling. Canada was among several Arctic-bordering nations to face criticism at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as Greenpeace launched a new campaign aimed at preserving the Arctic as a "global sanctuary" that should be protected from resource exploitation. Environmentalists took swipes at nationalist claims on the polar region for offshore oil drilling, arguing for the creation of a special Arctic reserve to protect animal and plant species. Eco-minded celebrities such as former Beatle Paul McCartney, actress Penelope Cruz and director Robert Redford added their voices to the Greenpeace goal. They were among the first 100 signatories of a "Flag for the Future" scroll that Greenpeace hopes will be signed by a million people and placed on the Arctic seabed. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


Preserving Strategic Partnerships & Preparing for Transnational Threats, June 25-28, 2012. United States European Command and United States Africa Command hosts a science and technology conference. A session on the Arctic is scheduled to begin at 8am on Thursday. The schedule is available here.


Law of the Sea Convention: Perspectives from Business & Industry, June 28, 2012. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold another hearing on the Law of the Sea Convention, this hearing to focus on the impacts on business and industry.  Witnesses including, president of the US Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue, president of the American Petroleum Institute Jack Gerard, president of the National Association of Manufacturers Jay Timmons, and chairman of Verizon Communications Lowell McAdam.


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. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


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.


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.  

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