Arctic Update Header
October 10, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, October 9-10, 2012. CAFF will hold a meeting in Anadyr, Russia. 



losCanada On Verge of Expansion of Undersea Territory. The Canadian government is near completion on its application to a UN commission to claim its extended continental shelf, and it holds the potential to expand the country's ownership over seabed territory by up to 1.75 million square kilometers. The government must submit the application before the December 2013 deadline, which according to the geologist in charge of the project, Dr. Jacob Verhoef, is thousands of pages long and includes 25 scientific reports. CICS News


Polar Bear Eating FishSouthern Hudson Bay Polar Bear Study. A new study on the polar bears of James Bay by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, funded in part by PBI, will help answer questions about how these bears are faring in a warming Arctic. James Bay lies at the southern end of Hudson Bay, an area that is experiencing greater sea ice losses than Hudson Bay as a whole. The polar bears that range there live farther south than any other polar bear population worldwide, putting them at great risk from global warming. Polar Bears International


Russia to Step Up Arctic Presence - Medvedev. Prime Minister Medvedev spoke about an increased Arctic presence in St. Petersburg, on Wednesday, at a ceremony to commission a new research vessel. The Russian RV Akademik Treshnikov is a high-tech marvel capable of navigating amid thick ice floes. Voice of Russia


Vast Differences in Antarctic and Arctic Polar Ocean Microbial Communities Reported. The most comprehensive comparison of microbial diversity at both of Earth's polar oceans showed that about 75 percent of the organisms at each pole are different. This insight sheds light on newly recognized biodiversity patterns and reinforces the importance of studying Earth's polar regions in the face of a changing climate. And it highlights the need for further research on the impacts of sea ice, seasonal shifts and freshwater input in both regions. "We believe that significant differences in the environmental conditions at each pole and unique selection mechanisms in the Arctic and Southern oceans are at play in controlling surface and deep-ocean community structure," said Alison Murray, leader of an international team of scientists studying this phenomenon and an associate research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev. PhysOrg  


Fishing for Trouble in Iceland: Reykjavik is on a collision course with the country's most important industry. Four years ago, this remote country on the edge of the Arctic Circle became the most spectacular casualty of the 2008 global financial crisis. Practically overnight, Iceland's banking system collapsed, taking the currency and much of the rest of the economy with it. The krona plunged by some 75% in a matter of days before it essentially stopped trading altogether. The country's three large banks, which had between them borrowed the equivalent of many times Iceland's annual economic output, imploded as money rushed out of Iceland even faster than it had poured in during the boom years. But in the past couple of years, Iceland has staged a recovery of a sort. The rebound is in no small part thanks to the business that has been the island's mainstay for a millennium-fishing. Fish account for more than 40% of Iceland's total exports. Wall Street Journal


Polar bearUS Push for a Ban on Polar Bear Trade Outrages Some Canadians. The United States again is lobbying for an international ban on the trade of polar bear parts after a previous failed attempt in 2010. Officials have submitted a proposal with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, to reclassify the animals as a species threatened with extinction. That would shut down the commercial trade of hides, teeth and claws. It would also effectively shut down international polar bear sport hunting. This is the second time the U.S. has tried to get a ban on the international trade of polar bear parts. In 2010, the first American proposal was defeated at a meeting in Qatar. Alaska Dispatch


Polar Ice Update, Record Lows in the Arctic, Record Highs in the Antarctic. This September, sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean fell to the lowest extent in the satellite record, which began in 1979. Satellite data analyzed by NSIDC scientists showed that the sea ice cover reached its lowest extent on September 16. Sea ice extent averaged for the month of September was also the lowest in the satellite record. The near-record ice melt occurred without the unusual weather conditions that contributed to the extreme melt of 2007. In 2007, winds and weather patterns helped melt large expanses of ice. "Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were not as conducive to ice loss this year, but the melt still reached a new record low," said NSIDC scientist Walt Meier. "This probably reflects loss of multi-year ice in the Arctic, as well as other factors that are making the ice more vulnerable." Multi-year ice is ice that has survived more than one melt season and is thicker than first-year ice. Meanwhile, the Antarctic sea ice was reaching record high levels. Scientists largely attribute the increase in Antarctic sea ice extent to stronger circumpolar winds, which blow the sea ice outward, increasing extent. Environmental News Network

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


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.  


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. 


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.

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