Arctic Update Header
November 7, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Yesterday's election results are still coming in. The next Congress and Administration will consider many issues of importance to the science community as well as pivotal Arctic issues. Some of the election results are below.


Congress is expected to return next week to consider legislative provisions before adjourning for the year and this Congress. The session after an election is often referred to as a "lame-duck session."




Obama Wins a Second Term, Calls for National Unity in Victory Speech. President Obama has won reelection to an historic second term after defeating Republican Mitt Romney. Romney conceded the race to Obama shortly after midnight, well after it was apparent that Obama had scored a decisive victory.  A short time later Obama addressed an ecstatic crowd in Chicago, with the president offering kind words for Romney and calling for the country to come together. The Hill





White HouseWhat Obama's Second-Term Cabinet Might Look Like. Four years after promising to change Washington, President Obama has left everyone guessing just how much change will occur in a second term. This time, he may not want many tweaks to his senior staff or his Cabinet. But, like the past five two-term presidents, Obama will find that things never stay the same-even if he wants them to. The president has had a fair amount of turbulence in his White House staff, including three chiefs of staff, two press secretaries, two legislative directors, and a shifting cast of senior advisers. But he has had a remarkably stable Cabinet. Only two of Obama's 15 Cabinet posts have turned over-Defense and Commerce. And only two of his six Cabinet-level slots have seen turnover: budget director and head of the Council of Economic Advisers. But that very stability hints at the change to come in a second term. The long hours and constant stress inevitably take their toll. Few people have the stamina to last eight years. Government Executive 


losDespite Wide Support, Treaties Face Tough Obstacle in Lame-Duck Session. The heavy hitters who support the Law of the Sea treaty [Convention on the Law of the Sea], as well as those who are seeking ratification of a pact on disabilities, continue to push the Senate to act on them this year. But prospects for both remain dim, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's election. Thirty-six Republican senators have now signed on to a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stating their opposition to any treaty vote in the lame-duck session that begins next week. Congressional Quarterly


capitalElection Offers No Clear Path Toward Sequester Agreement. With the White House and Congress holding a rough status quo after the election, the protracted conflict between the two parties over what to do about the $1.2 trillion sequester will extend into a lame-duck session without clear direction from voters. The sequester would result in $109 billion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in fiscal year 2013, including $55 billion from defense. While most lawmakers say they would like to find a way to avoid the cuts, Republicans and Democrats are at an impasse over how to replace those cuts. Republicans generally favor substituting other spending cuts, generally aiming them at domestic programs. The House passed a reconciliation bill (HR 5652) in May that would replace about $94 billion of the cuts with reductions in mandatory spending spread over 10 years. Democrats in both chambers as well as Obama have insisted on a plan that also includes additional revenue. Congressional Quarterly


Democrats the Clear Winners on Tuesday. The 2012 elections will go down as a victory for Democrats, who held the White House and control of the Senate, even as the party appeared likely to pick up only a handful of seats in the House. Success on Tuesday would be defined by what happened in the presidential contest, and President Obama won a convincing re-election over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama carried every swing state except for North Carolina, which was one of only two states that he won in 2008 that did not go his way again this year. Florida was the only state yet to be called by Wednesday morning, though the president held a lead of 46,039 votes there with 100 percent of precincts reporting. He had already topped 300 electoral votes, having needed only 270 electoral votes to win. Congressional Quarterly


Democrats to Retain Control of Senate. Democrats will retain control of the Senate next year, having picked up seats in Massachusetts, Indiana and Maine along with holding on to several of their endangered incumbents who were in tough races. It's a switch from the beginning of the cycle, when the party was seen as in trouble as they were defending more seats than Republicans. The Hill


Republicans Projected to Keep House Majority. Republicans are projected to hold onto their majority in the House, keeping the gavel in the hands of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Democrats would have needed a net gain of 25 seats to recapture the House, and early results in races across the country show them falling well short of that mark. The result is a resounding victory for House Republicans, who rode into power in the Tea Party-fueled wave election of 2010, and a bitter defeat for Democrats who had hoped to make Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) Speaker of the House once more. The Hill


Young[Alaska] Young Wins 21st Term in US House. U.S. Rep. Don Young has won a 21st term in Congress, which could allow him to become Alaska's longest-serving member of Congress, edging the late Ted Stevens. Young on Tuesday handily defeated Democrat Sharon Cissna, who struggled to gain traction or campaign money in the race. Young told reporters that Alaska probably "needs me now, more than ever," because President Obama won re-election and Democrats retained control of the Senate. He said the GOP-led House will have to act as a check-and-balance. Anchorage Daily News



Study: Arctic Snow Pack Melting Faster Than Sea Ice. The spring snow pack in the Arctic is disappearing at a much faster rate than anticipated even by climate change models, says a new study by Environment Canada researchers. That has implications for wildlife, vegetation and ground temperatures, say the scientists, who looked at four decades of snow data for the Canadian Arctic and beyond. Combined with recent news that the Arctic sea ice retreated to an all-time low this summer, it suggests climate change may be happening much faster than expected, said Dr. Chris Derksen, a research scientist for Environment Canada and one of the study's authors. Alaska Dispatch


russian flagRussian Submarine Passes Arctic Trials. The deep-sea, nuclear-powered 'Kalitka' submarine has been engaged in underwater drilling operations on the Mendeleev Shelf in the Arctic Ocean, as part of the Arktika-2012 expedition. A source at the Russian Ministry of Defence told Izvestia that the submarine helped make adjustments to the drilling operations carried out from the 'Kapitan Dranitsyn' and 'Dikson' diesel-electric icebreakers, in order to identify the outer bounds of Russia's continental shelf. Russia & India Report

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


1st International Symposium on Small Satellites for Arctic and Maritime Operations and Research: November 9, 2012. Taksha University; the Global Maritime Awareness Institute for Safety, Security, and Stewardship; The Taksha Institute for Small Satellite Space Systems; and the Journal of Small Satellites will host this symposium. The symposium will consider the safety and security of the Arctic environment and global maritime assets, including the protection of the maritime environment and its resources, as well as the people and vessels who traverse the waters of the world.


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


Arctic Technology Conference, December 3-5, 2012. The burgeoning Arctic arena offers a host of opportunities for companies that can solve the complex environmental, physical and regulatory challenges it presents. ATC 2012 will include a highly specialized technical program, education courses, networking events, and an exhibition - all deisgned to help ensure that oil and gas professionals throughout the world are prepared to succeed in these challenging Arctic arenas.


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: 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. Call for abstracts, due November 30, 2012. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

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