US Arctic Research Commission
December 9, 2010

capitalToday's Eventstodaysevents



The Senate will conduct procedural votes on an immigration bill and a bill on health care for Sept. 11 first-responders. Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., said if those two votes fail, he might proceed to a vote to reconsider the failed cloture motion on the defense authorization bill. The House considers a Senate-amended bill that would pay for a one-year extension of Medicare physician payment rates.

UNOLS Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee meeting. Seattle. Dec. 9-10.AICC agenda


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Democrats May See the End for START. Senate Republicans remain disinclined to support ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia during the lame-duck session, and now Democrats are beginning to have doubts, too. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the Republican point man on START, signaled that his crucial backing will not be forthcoming in what's left of the lame duck, given the time left to complete work on a tax bill and government funding. Roll Call

Steering Taps Dicks for Appropriations. The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee has selected Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.) to serve as ranking member on the Appropriations Committee in the 112th Congress, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Dicks' nomination will have to be approved the entire Democratic Caucus. He would replace retiring Rep. David Obey (Wis.) as the top Democrat on the panel. Dicks said he "felt good about" his time in front of the steering committee Wednesday, during which he made his case for the job. He gave a four-minute speech before facing nearly an hour of questions from members of the panel. Roll Call

Appointments.  President Obama will nominate Kelvin Droegemeier as a member of the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Droegemeier is the vice president for research, regents' professor of meteorology and weathernews chair emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. He also founded the NSF's Science and Technology Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms, where he is director emeritus. He has Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The president will nominate Dan Ashe as director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at the Department of the Interior. He has been the deputy director of the service since September 2009. Prior to that, he was science adviser to the director at the service, and was chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Ashe also worked on the staff of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the House of Representatives. The Hill


Russia Drafts Law on Northern Sea Route. The new law will regulate international use of a new shipping lane between Europe and Asia. Barents Observer


U.S. Navy Inviting Executives to Play "Shipping Game." Executives from top U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart and Exxon, are teaming up with the U.S. Navy this week in a "gaming" exercise to study how a warming Arctic Ocean and the widening of the Panama Canal could dramatically change global shipping. Reuters 

Language in Defense Appropriations Bill May Allow ARSC to Retain Funding. Language in a defense appropriation bill could retain military funding for the University of Alaska Fairbanks based Arctic Region Supercomputing Center. The provision inserted in the legislation by Senator Mark Begich blocks the DOD from spending money to close any of the six computer facilities it contracts with. Last week UAF officials said the DOD is indicating it will not renew a research support contract that covers 80 percent of ARSC's $12 million operating budget, a funding hit that would half the center's 50 person staff. Begich's provision hinges on a divided Senate and House passing the appropriations bill as is. UAF officials aren't holding out a lot of hope, and ARSC Chief Scientist Greg Newby says the UAF facility has already positioned to move on. APRN 

Vitamin D: Are you Getting Enough? The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine's (IOM) released a report earlier this week slightly raising the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) levels for vitamin D considered adequate for most Americans.  The report states that most people are currently getting the required amount of vitamin D.  However, questions remain for special populations, including those living in the far north, regarding how much vitamin D is needed to protect against chronic disease. Long known to be an important nutrient in bone health and calcium metabolism, vitamin D, also known as 25-hydroxy vitamin D, has become a focus of research in recent years. This research has shown that a deficiency in vitamin D is associated with over 50 diseases affecting every system in the human body. Alaska Family Doctor

Weather Affects Children's Injury Rate: Each 5-Degree Temperature Rise Boosts Kids' Hospital Admissions for Serious Injury by 10 Percent. Every 5 degree Celsius rise in maximum temperature pushes up the rate of hospital admissions for serious injuries among children, reveals one of the largest studies of its kind published online in Emergency Medicine JournalScience Daily 

Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R.3082 : Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (vehicle for both continuing appropriations and food safety)

(Edwards  - passed in the House)


 H.R.6184 : To amend the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 to extend and modify the program allowing the Secretary of the Army to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the evaluation of permits, and for other purposes.

(Larsen - message on Senate passage sent to House)


 S.2902 : Federal Acquisition Institute Improvement Act of 2009
(Collins - placed on Senate legislative calendar)


 S.3167 : Census Oversight Efficiency and Management Reform Act of 2010
(Carper - passed in Senate)


 S.4015 : A bill to provide for the establishment, on-going validation, and utilization of an official set of data on the historical temperature record, and for other purposes.

(Vitter - introduced, referred to committee)

Future Eventsfutureevents


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.


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