US Arctic Research Commission
December 15, 2010

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate is expected to consider tax extenders, the New START Treaty, and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


The House is expected to consider Don't Ask, Don't Tell and tax extenders legislation. The House is also expected to consider a number of legislative items under suspension of the rules.


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." 


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 


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Congress Can't Seem to Let Go: In House and Senate, Democrat leaders struggle to figure out endgame. Attempts to wrap up a bitterly contentious session of Congress fell into disarray Tuesday as Republicans vowed to filibuster a one-year spending bill and Democratic infighting threatened to sink the White House's tax cut deal. By late Tuesday night, the only thing that seemed certain was that Congress will, for the second year in a row, be in session the week of Christmas. Roll Call


Obama Plans 2011 Staff Makeover. David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, who will become a senior adviser to the president as early as the first week of January, is perhaps the most significant addition to Obama's staff. He is expected to take an expansive new role including running the embattled White House press and messaging operations, people with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO. Obama's thinking on other specifics of his reconfigured West Wing - as well as a new campaign operation and Democratic National Committee structure - is largely unknown. But changes are expected across the administration, with familiar faces moving into new roles, both inside and outside the White House, and some unfamiliar ones joining the ranks. Politico


DeMint Will Force Readings of START Treaty and Omnibus Bill. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will force readings of both a nuclear arms treaty and $1.1 trillion spending bill that could eat up hours of the remaining lame-duck Congress.  DeMint will invoke a senatorial privilege to ask that texts of both the New START Treaty and the 2011 omnibus spending bill be read aloud on the Senate floor. The Hill


Omnibus Looks Strong in Senate. Senate Democrats are optimistic that the chamber will pass a catchall $1.1 trillion omnibus spending measure despite adamant opposition from many Republicans. Most Democrats want to put a final stamp on government spending before they lose the House next year and their Senate majority shrinks. The Senate measure would do just that, providing billions of dollars for members' pet projects and boosting funding for favored government programs. Congressional Quarterly


GOP Trims Size of House Committees for 112th Congress. House committees will be significantly smaller in the 112th Congress, with 785 total positions, down from the 869 seats in the current Congress, Republican aides said Wednesday. Republicans will control 57 percent of seats on committees if there are no further adjustments. The incoming Republicans will have a 56 percent overall House majority beginning next year. Democrats currently control 60 percent of committee seats and hold a 59 percent majority of total House seats. Congressional Quarterly


Endangered Listing Needed to Save Alaska Polar Bear: COMPASS: Other Points of View. Alaska's polar bears are getting an important boost from President Barack Obama's Interior Department with the recent designation of more than 187,000 square miles of "critical habitat" in Arctic sea ice and coastal areas. This habitat protection under the Endangered Species Act is good news for the polar bear -- studies have shown that species with designated critical habitat are nearly twice as likely to recover as those without. But we have a long way to go before we can count the polar bear as being on the road to recovery. Anchorage Daily News 


Senate Rules Changes Still Evolving. With Democrats trying to reach agreement on ways to diminish his power come January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surprised the proponents of reform by inviting them to his office to discuss how they plan to change Senate rules.  The Kentucky Republican, GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday morning hosted Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Benjamin Cardin (Md.) in an apparent attempt to find out what Democrats are planning and discourage them from following through. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was also invited but had a scheduling conflict, sources said. Roll Call


Camera Drones Used to Track Arctic Seals. Cameras on unmanned aircraft flying over the arctic are assessing declining sea ice and tracking seals as they haul up onto ice floes, U.S. researchers say. The project is monitoring ice and seals in remote areas without putting pilots and observers at risk, Elizabeth Weatherhead of the University of Colorado at Boulder said in a release from the university Tuesday. The team is using a camera drone with a 10-foot wingspan that is owned and operated by the University of Alaska. UPI


Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents


White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 16.  The White House will host the second annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.  For additional information, please email the White House. 


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, fish 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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