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May 18, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to vote on passage of the FY 2013 Department of Defense authorization bill. The Senate is not in session.




inuit childrenAncient History of Circumarctic Peoples Illuminated. Two studies led by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and National Geographic's Genographic Project reveal new information about the migration patterns of the first humans to settle the Americas. The studies identify the historical relationships among various groups of Native American and First Nations peoples and present the first clear evidence of the genetic impact of the groups' cultural practices. Science Daily


HarperJohn Ivison: Stephen Harper's Arctic Sovereignty Legacy Starting to Cool Off. Arctic sovereignty is often seen as Stephen Harper's signature legacy project. Every summer, the Prime Minister heads north to indulge in an expensively choreographed photo opportunity, flanked by CF-18 fighters and half the Royal Canadian Navy. Two years ago, he boasted about the millions Canada was spending to defend its interests, including $495-million for new Radarsat satellites. "The eyes on these satellites will pick up a breaching whale through the fog in the utter blackness of the Arctic winter," he said. "From Afghanistan to the Arctic, from the coast of Somalia to the shores of Nootka Sound [on Vancouver Island], we will be able to see what the bad guys are up to." National Post 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaGroups Sue Again Over Oil Drilling Off Alaska. A coalition of environmental and tribal groups filed a challenge Wednesday to a federal air-emissions permit for a Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling ship, the latest legal maneuver aimed at stopping the oil giant's exploration plan off Alaska's Arctic coast. The Obama administration gave Shell the go-ahead last year to move forward with plans to drill for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The coalition's court challenge targets a ship that Shell plans to deploy for drilling in the Beaufort Sea starting as early as mid-July when the sea-ice clears. Wall Street Journal 


US-Japan Scientific Cooperation Strengthened With Launch of New Environmental Monitoring Satellite. NOAA scientists will use data from a new Japanese polar-orbiting satellite launched earlier today from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, to help forecast severe storms, monitor the decline of Arctic sea ice, and predict the onset of El Niņo, La Niņa and other global climate phenomena. Once deemed operational, data from this new spacecraft and the new U.S. Suomi NPP satellite, which was launched last year and is operated by NOAA, will strengthen the environmental monitoring capabilities of both nations. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last year between NOAA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), NOAA will use data from an instrument onboard JAXA's Global Change Observation Mission 1 - Water (GCOM-W1) satellite. NOAA  


ScienceSeeking Signs of Life at the Glacier's Edge. Scientists are investigating the receding edge of ice sheets on Earth to study the release of methane there. Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas. On Earth, some methane is produced abiotically - not by life - through reactions between water and rock, as well as through the breakdown of hydrocarbons by geological processes. On the other hand, some methane comes directly or indirectly from methanogenic microbes, as a byproduct of fermentation of acetate, a derivative of vinegar, into methane and carbon dioxide. PhyOrg

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


Outer Continental Shelf Scientific Committee, May 22-24, 2012. The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Scientific Committee (SC) is a chartered entity through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to consider feasibility, appropriateness, and scientific value of BOEM's OCS Environmental Studies Program. The next meeting will occur in Santa Barbara, CA. Issues to be covered at the meeting include:

  • An Integrated Scientific Approach to Arctic Sustainability: An International Partnership on Arctic Science Engineering and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES)
  • Modeling of the Ecosystem Dynamics in the Alaskan Arctic Ocean
  • Chukchi Acoustic, Oceanography and Zooplankton Study: Hanna Shoal (Extension of CHAOZ)
  • Walrus Seasonal Distribution and Habitat Use in the Eastern Chukchi Sea
  • Subsistence Mapping of Wainwright, Point Lay, and Point Hope
  • Cook Inlet Circulation Model Calculations
  • Arctic Air Quality Impact Assessment Modeling
  • Enhanced Verification and Interpretation of Arctic Ice Formation, Distribution, and Density
  • Physical and Chemical Analyses of Crude and Refined Oils: Laboratory and Mesoscale Oil Weathering
  • A Cultural Resource Survey of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

A link to the complete agenda is available here.


NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel meeting, May 22-24, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. This federal advisory committee will discuss improvements of navigation services that NOAA provides for Alaska and the Arctic. Topics include new nautical charts and navigation safety, emerging commercial shipping needs, accuracy of land elevation data for coastal management, and natural hazard warning and response for the Alaska/Arctic region. The public is invited, and can provide comments during the May 23 and 24 afternoon sessions. For more information, 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 Institute of the North hosts Arctic-related events. For details, go here. Three upcoming events, all in Anchorage, AK are: (a) Commercial Applications of Northern Airships, July 31-Aug 2, Federal Research: Priorities and Processes, August 13, and Northern Energy Technology and Science Fair, August 15.


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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


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.   


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