US Arctic Research Commission
December 7, 2010

capitalToday's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate is expected to consider impeachment proceedings.The House is expected to consider a number of legislative items under suspension of the rules.

Media Reviewtodaysevents


START Ratification Still Looks Like No-Go Before Year's End. The prospects of the Senate considering the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty during the lame-duck session are growing increasingly dim, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday. President Barack Obama signed the treaty with Russia earlier this year and has made Senate ratification of the document his top foreign policy priority before the sun sets on the 111th Congress. But Durbin conceded that Republican resistance could push the ratification debate to next year, despite Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) insisting that it remains on the Democrats' list of items to address before Christmas. Roll Call


Barton Touts Tea Party Ties, Target EPA in Final Push for Energy Chairmanship. The Texas Republican gunning to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee is highlighting his Tea Party ties and vowing to end several environmental programs as he seeks to convince GOP leaders that he's the man for the job. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) spelled out his agenda in responses to a questionnaire from GOP leadership. Candidates for various committee chairmanships in the next Congress are filling out the paperwork. The Hill


Future Uncertain for W.H. Energy Post. Would anyone notice if the White House didn't have a special energy and climate office? That's the million-dollar question as President Barack Obama considers giving Carol Browner a promotion to deputy chief of staff. Browner took charge of the newly-created enclave two years ago and was seen as the leader of an all-star green team. But while her stock has risen with the president, her portfolio has shrunk with the new political reality. Politico


Reid to Push Ahead on Ambitious Lame-Duck Agenda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday opened the next-to-last planned week of the lame-duck session with a vow to push ahead with an ambitious agenda. Reid's agendalame duck includes: the expiring Bush tax cuts, the DREAM Act, a defense authorization measure that repeals "Don't ask, don't tell" and the START arms control treaty. Reid said the Senate would be in session the next "few weeks," but on Saturday said he planned to adjourn the chamber on Dec. 17, a week before Christmas, adding that he hoped to avoid a repeat of last year's Christmas Eve votes on healthcare reform. The Hill 


White House Looking for Billions in Additional CR Spending for Next Year. The White House has asked lawmakers to add more than $11 billion to any long-term continuing resolution cleared by Congress before the end of the year, according to materials circulating on Capitol Hill Monday. Draft legislation that incorporates many, though not all, of the administration requests suggested that Democrats are hoping to make a last-ditch effort to secure money for dozens of government programs. But budget-conscious GOP members might object to including the additional money in legislation that generally keeps government spending flat. Congressional Quarterly


Arctic Research Collaboration between NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The NOAA Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases Group has been collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard on a special project in Alaska. A Coast Guard Hercules C-130 aircraft conducts biweekly missions as part of their Arctic Domain Awareness mission, usually flying from Air Station Kodiak up to Barrow and back. NOAA has installed devices onboard to sample carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and to monitor ozone. See the "Aircraft Air Sampling Network Newsletter" published by the NOAA/ESRL

Ending America's 'Sea Blindness' The Law of the Sea Convention would greatly benefit the U.S. and needs to be ratified [Opinion]. The United States suffers from a kind of "sea blindness" - an inability to appreciate the central role the oceans and naval power have played in securing our strategic security and economic prosperity. One symptom of this bipartisan malady has been that the country is failing to take an active role in shaping the world order of the oceans to promote our national interest. This sea blindness is manifest in a number of policy choices, including the Pentagon's fiscal struggle to fund a powerful naval fleet and a national oceans policy that has virtually ignored the importance of sea power. Perhaps most troublesome is that the United States has abandoned its best opportunity to shape the political ordering of the oceans by failing to ratify the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. Baltimore Sun


Ottawa Moves to Protect Serengeti of the Arctic. The federal government will begin consultations to determine the boundaries of a new national marine conservation area in the Lancaster Sound at the northern tip of Baffin Island. Those lines will designate an ecologically sensitive body of Arctic water, approximately twice the size of Lake Erie, that is off limits to resource exploration and extraction. It has been a year since the government first said it would spend $5-million to study the feasibility of creating a protected area at the mouth of the Northwest Passage. Environment Minister John Baird says such safeguards will become increasingly important as the effects of global warming lead to greater human activity in Canada's North. The Globe and Mail


Coast Guard Begins Ice Breaking Operations in Western Great Lakes. The U.S. Coast Guard commenced Operation Taconite this afternoon in response to colder temperatures and the resultant ice growth in the western Great Lakes region. Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard's largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Mary's River, the Straits of Mackinac, and northern Lake Huron. Coast Guard


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Turns 50. Today, I join with the President, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and countless Americans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Few places in America retain the natural beauty of the Refuge, which protects a broad swath of northeast Alaska and its shoreline. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has a long ANWRbipartisan history. Following the efforts of countless conservationists, in 1960 President Eisenhower signed an executive order to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Range "for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values" and followed many years of efforts by conservationists to protect our wild lands. These conservationists, including Olaus and Margaret Murie, sought to protect this unique American landscape. In 1980, under President Carter's leadership, the area was renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and expanded to further recognize and protect the variety of wildlife found in the area. The White House Blog


Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents


Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP) December 8, NOPPWashington DC.  ORRAP is a federal advisory committee that advises on policies and procedures to implement the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) and to provide recommendations to the National Ocean Council on interagency activities. Among other actions at this meeting, ORRAP will approve an "Arctic Findings Paper" (see pages 25-28 on this pdf). The agenda is here.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include 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." 
 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
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, 2011The 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, 2011The 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.


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