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October 11, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


Preparing for Offshore Drilling in the Arctic: Lessons Learned from the First Season, October 11, 2012. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a field hearing in Alaska on "Preparing for Offshore Drilling in the Arctic: Lessons Learned from the First Season." This hearing will examine the operational lessons to be learned following the first season of exploratory drilling activity in the Arctic. It will be held at the University of Alaska, Anchorage Campus in room 106 - Gorsuch Commons. Witnesses include Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes, Acting Director of the National Weather Service Laura Furgione, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, Shell's Vice President of Exploration and Production Pete Slaiby, North Slope Borough Chief Administrative Officer Jacob Adams, and Consulting Division Manager of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation.





Ice - Melting GlacierGlaciers Cracking in the Presence of Carbon Dioxide. The well-documented presence of excessive levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is causing global temperatures to rise and glaciers and ice caps to melt. Science Daily



Murkowski Lisa Murkowski Pushes Alaskan, Arctic Priorities in Coast Guard Bill. As the House of Representatives and the Senate consider competing versions of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, Senator Lisa Murkowski is attempting to make sure Alaska's needs are met. In a letter to the leaders of the relevant House and Senate committees, Senator Murkowski highlighted a number of key sections that she didn't want to see left on the negotiating room floor, writing "these provisions are supported by a number of my constituents, who depend on the maritime industry and coordination with the Coast Guard." Alaska Native News


coldwindsblowingArctic Summer Wind Shift Could Affect Sea Ice Loss and US/European Weather. Changes in summer Arctic wind patterns contribute not only to an unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice, but could also bring about shifts in North American and European weather, according to a new NOAA-led study published today in Geophysical Research Letters. A research team led by James Overland, Ph.D., of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., examined the wind patterns in the subarctic in the early summer between 2007 and 2012 as compared to the average for 1981 to 2010. They discovered that the previously normal west-to-east flowing upper-level winds have been replaced by a more north-south undulating, or wave-like pattern. This new wind pattern transports warmer air into the Arctic and pushes Arctic air farther south, and may influence the likelihood of persistent weather conditions in the mid-latitudes. The Maritime Executive


arctic shippingThe Future of Arctic Shipping. Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly, and within the next decade the effects of global warming may transform the Polar region from an inaccessible frozen desert into a seasonally navigable ocean. The summer of 2011 saw a record 33 ships, carrying 850,000 tons of cargo navigate the Northern Sea Route (NSR) off Russia's northern coast. This year's shipping season may see up to 1.5 million tons of cargo, as Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute predicts the NSR to be ice-free and passable for ships by early summer. The Northwest Passage, first ice-free in 2007, and the Transpolar Sea Route (TSR) may also open up to shipping traffic over the coming decades. An in-depth assessment of the viability of shipping along the TSR will be published in the upcoming Arctic Yearbook 2012, which will be available from the Northern Research Forum's website in October 2012. The development of Arctic offshore hydrocarbon resources and related economic activities will also improve the integration of the Arctic economy in global trade patterns. Multi-year ice and the limited seasonal window for trans-Arctic voyages, however, will for the foreseeable future remain formidable obstacles to the development of Arctic shipping and its economic viability. Trans-Arctic shipping routes will thus not serve as a substitute for existing shipping lanes, but will instead provide new and additional capacity for a growing transportation volume. The Arctic Institute


Coast Guard SealCoast Guard's Arctic Sea Ice Research Deploys Equipment From Airplanes. As sea ice disappears in the Arctic Ocean, the U.S. Coast Guard is teaming with scientists to explore this new frontier by deploying scientific equipment through cracks in the ice from airplanes hundreds of feet in the air. This year, the amount of sea ice that normally covers giant swaths of the Arctic Ocean fell to a record low level; this summer, the Arctic ice cap melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square kilometers), its lowest extent since measurements began in the late 1970s, according to the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center, which tracks sea ice using satellite data. Huffington Post

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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