US Arctic Research Commission
November 23, 2010

Today's Events

The House and Senate are in recess for Thanksgiving. Both chambers will reconvene on Monday, November 29.

International Arctic Conference: Geopolitical Issues and Equations in the 21st Century, November 22-23. The Conference objectives are threefold : To bring together a variety of scientific expertise to stimulate debate and promote further research in the academic world (researchers and students) - To disseminate the state of knowledge on the transformation of the Arctic and its governance to a larger public - To influence official policy.  The Conference is organized around four themes, arranged in the following sessions: - The Arctic: a geographic space in transformation - The Native peoples, political actors - Frontiers and international law - Regional and international regulations.
Media Reviewtodaysevents

Arctic sea ice

NATO Arctic Security and Canadian Sovereignty in the Far North. In many ways, the Arctic has become a geopolitical game with mixed messages being sent from all sides. There appears to be a real contradiction in what is being said and what is actually being done to safeguard sovereignty. While Arctic countries hav e emphasized the importance of resolving conflicting boundary claims through enhanced cooperation, at times, rhetoric has served to fuel rivalries in the resource-rich area. NATO has declared the Arctic a strategically important region with northern member nations individually or collaboratively conducting military and naval operations to showcase their capabilities. Centre for Research on Globalization


NOAA: October Ranked 8th Warmest on Record. October ranked the eighth warmest October on record. The first 10 months of 2010 tied with the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record. The global average land surface temperature for January-October was the second warmest on record behind 2007. The global ocean surface temperature for January-October tied with 2003 as the second warmest on record behind 1998. La Nina continues to be a significant factor in global ocean temperatures. NOAA


Resolution at COP10.  The resolutions from the recently concluded COP10 in Nagoyja, Japan, made specific reference to the Arctic Council and Arctic biodiversity. Arctic Council


[Conservation on Arctic Flora and Fauna] CAFF Report Presented.  At the recent COP10 in Nagoyja, Japan, the Arctic Council's Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) held a side event presenting its report: "Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Selected Indicators of Change."  The report is the first output of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), of which results will be launched in 2013. Arctic Council


Senators Urge "Strong Protections" for Arctic Refuge. Stopping short of demanding national monument designation, 25 U.S. Senators have called for "stronger protections" and "additional protections" of Alaska's 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley, D-Oregon, signed the letter, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's creation of a smaller national wildlife range on the North Slope. Seattle Post Intelligencer   

Future Eventsfutureevents

Arctic Change: Consequences for Marine Life, November 25The event is organized as part of the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute as part of the "Poolnacht van Groningen." Presentations will include: Arctic Sea Ice- changes and consequences, Physical and Biological Changes in the Arctic Ocean, The Effects of Past Climate Changes on Abundance and Migration of Marine Mammals in Polar Regions, Sonar Exposure on Marine Mammals, Animal Health in a Changing Arctic, The Modern Whaling Industry in the Arctic: Diffusion and adoptions of a technical system, Sustainability of the Russian Walrus Hunt on Spitsbergen in the 18th Century, Mercury as a Global Pollutant and Its Effect on the Arctic, and The Future of the Arctic.

Opening the Arctic: Science Challenges to Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change, November 30.  The Arctic poses unique challenges relative to climate change that will have profound implications for how the Navy operates and sustains its current and emerging missions in the Arctic. From reductions in seasonal sea ice that open up new shipping routes, to amplified coastal erosion, to melting permafrost, climate change is likely to alter the environment in ways that introduce new physical processes and unexpected ecological changes. This session will explore the variety of science challenges that now confront our understanding of the Arctic and the Navy's ability to conduct its activities on the sea and on land in an environmentally sound manner in this unique region.  
Canada-United States Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum, November 30- Canada-US flagsDecember 2, 2010. The Second Canada - United States Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum will examine the current status and future directions for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, North Slope and Mackenzie Delta.  The forum will focus on technical, engineering and scientific research under the following topic areas: safety on northern offshore platforms & escape, evacuation and rescue issues; oil spill prevention in the Arctic; oil spill management in the Arctic; Transportation logistics for exploration and development in the Arctic; ice engineering issues for offshore platforms; environmental conditions in exploration areas; monitoring for cumulative effects in the Arctic; exploration and development in sensitive coastal habitats.
Arctic Policy 101, December 1-3. PNWER's (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) newly formed Arctic Caucus is hosting this preliminary meeting in Barrow.  The Caucus formed in October to "provide a forum to share information and develop regional policies on the Arctic and Arctic development." 
Federal Funding, December 3.  The current continuing resolution expires on December 3rd.
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17The 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." 
Arctic Town Hall, 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 Sea, 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?
Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conference 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 the 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 Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is 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.


president signing
Legislative Action

No Arctic-related legislation was considered yesterday.

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