US Arctic Research Commission
December 13, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate will reconvene at 2 p.m. and resume consideration of the motion to concur to the tax legislation (HR 4853.) At 3 p.m., the Senate will hold a cloture vote with respect to the measure. 


The House will meet at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.


American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include a speech by Dr. John Holdren (President's Science Advisor) and sessions on "Extratropical and High-latitude Storms, Teleconnections, and Changing Climate," "Bringing Together Environmental, Socio-Economic, and Climatic Change Studies in Northern Eurasia," "The Use of Observations for Evaluating CMIP5/IPCC Simulations," and "The Future of Polar Science: The Path Beyond the IPY." 


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Cancun Ends With Modest Climate Deal. Negotiators from about 190 countries kivalina girl
reached a modest set of agreements early Saturday in Cancun o
n how to tackle global warming but punted some of the most controversial questions for a later date. A year after U.N.-led talks all but collapsed in Copenhagen, delegates from countries large and small signed off on a package of low-hanging fruit that includes establishing a program to keep tropical rainforests standing, sharing low-carbon energy technologies and preparing a $100 billion fund to help the world's most vulnerable cope with a changing climate. Politico


The Week at a Glance: December 13-17, 2010. On its return, the Senate begins with procedural votes on a bill to extend expiring George W. Bush-era tax provisions. With funding for the government set to expire Dec. 18, work will continue during the week on fiscal 2011 appropriations. The House's week will be determined in large part by the Senate, as the chamber decides whether to clear or amend any tax or spending provisions the Senate sends over. Congressional Quarterly

Indigenous Americans reveal agony of rampant suicide. Nationwide program meant to develop plan to address problem. ADN (suicide)

Warming means ringed seals face an uncertain future. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week proposed listing ringed seals as a threatened species because of the projected loss of snow cover and sea ice from climate warming. The agency also proposed listing bearded seals, which need pack ice over shallow water for reproducing and molting ADN (seals).


As Promised, Republican Leaders Cutting the Rosters of House Committees. House Republican leaders appear to be making good on their promise to reduce the size of committees, an effort tied to their goal of cutting costs and increasing government efficiency. As the incoming House majority released the names of lawmakers who have won seats on some of the most important committees, it became clear that the rosters of the Ways and Means and the Appropriations panels are being scaled back. Similar reductions are likely in store for other committees. Congressional Quarterly


Russia Probes Arctic Shelf Through Summer. Russian scientists are expected to continue their examination of the Arctic continental shelf through the summer, a lead researcher said. With sea ice receding in part because of global climate change, the United States, Canada, Demark, Norway, and Russia are examining territorial claims to the Arctic as once-trapped hydrocarbons become more exposed. UPI


Russia to Hold Annual Arctic Forums: Arkhangelsk May Hold Next Year's Arctic Forum.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that Arctic Forums will be held annually. The Prime Minister said Russia wants to continue an open discussion of key Arctic problems, including nature protection and climate change.Barents Observer


Are Alaska's wildfires accelerating global warming? A series of warmer summers and drier springs in Interior Alaska has forced wildfires to burn deeper into the region's ancient peat, releasing far more carbon dioxide into the air than previously thought, according to a new study by a team of scientists. Alaska Dispatch


NSB logoNorth Slope and Northwest Arctic Borough Representatives Examine Shell Oil Spill Response Fleet. On Thursday, a group of two dozen community leaders from the Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs traveled to Unalaska to examine Shell's oil spill response fleet. The federal government agreed to process Shell's application to drill an exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea next summer, and now the company is addressing environmental and social concerns held by local officials and tribal representatives. KUCB


Shell Agrees to Transport Drill Fluids Out of Arctic Seas. Shell has agreed to transport its used drilling fluids from Beaufort Sea exploration drilling out of the Arctic if the company finally gets government permission to drill a well next summer. The concession aims to address concerns expressed by Inupiat residents of coastal villages, and could set a precedent for other exploration wells drilled in Arctic outer continental shelf waters because Shell's drilling approval, if it comes, will be the first by the federal government in recent years. Alaska Journal


Polar Bears in Remote North Have High Levels of Toxic Pollutants. With its pristine-looking, snow-covered flats and mirror-like oceans that come with frigid temperatures and limited human exposure, the Arctic looks as clean as it could get, but it's not - nature's northern refuge is toxic. In fact, the 2500 polar bears that roam Norway's remote Svalbard have some of the highest levels of toxic organic pollutants of any animal on the planet, professor Bjørn Munro Jenssen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found in his research. "These contaminants are bio-accumulated and bio-magnified up the food chain," said Jenssen in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. "So the higher you are in the food chain, the higher are the contaminants." The Star 

Legislative Actionfutureevents

S. 3605, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (Rockefeller, placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar)

Future Eventsfutureevents
 NSF logo
Arctic Town Hall Meeting at AGU, December 15. The National Science Foundation, Division of Arctic Sciences, will host a town hall meeting. For additional information, please contact William Wiseman

Alaska Native Congressional Reception, December 15. The Alaska Delegation is hosting a congressional reception in conjunction with the White House Tribal Leadership Conference. Please RSVP to Kristen Daimler

New Congress, January 3. The 112th Congress begins.
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 17-21. Within each theme (Bering AMSS 2011 promoSea, Arctic Ocean, and Gulf of Alaska), presenters will discuss climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.
National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, January 19-21. One of the conference themes is "White Arctic/ Blue Arctic." This theme will address ice changes in the Arctic to consider several questions: What does science tell us about the future of the Arctic? How would issues about the future - white or blue - be resolved? What models and monitoring data will be required to support an emerging management regime that would allow for sustainable use of the Arctic? How can use of the Arctic and its resources be managed in the face of these possibilities? 

Public Forum on Natural Gas Markets, January 22. The federal coordinator's office for the Alaska natural gas pipeline will sponsor a public forum on gas markets Jan. 22 to help Alaskans better understand the supply-and-demand fundamentals affecting the proposed pipeline project. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects will bring to Alaska several national experts on Lower 48 supply and demand including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas.


Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North.
President's Budget, February 7. By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact

Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.
Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life. 
9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region permafrostEngineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.


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.  More details to follow.


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