US Arctic Research Commission
April 12, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Appropriations: Interior and Environment, April 12. The Interior and Environment and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2012 appropriations for departments, agencies, and programs under its jurisdiction.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Six-Month Spending Bill Unveiled: What's Cut and What's Not. House and Senate appropriators revealed details of the 2Dems and Reps Tug-of-War011 spending-cut deal early Tuesday morning, missing a self-imposed midnight deadline. In dueling press releases, House Republicans emphasized the magnitude of cuts they won in the six-month spending bill after marathon negotiations, while Senate Democrats emphasized cuts they were able to avoid or diminish. The Hill


Lisa Murkowski: Smaller Steps Mean Bigger Strides on Energy. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski thinks Congress will have more success taking a "graduated" approach to energy legislation while keeping up the pressure to respond to last year's Gulf of Mexico spill. While the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in which Murkowski is the top Republican, approved separate strategies - last Congress - addressing the historic oil spill and broader energy problems, the full Senate and Congress more generally did not follow suit. Politico


Science and Politics: A tale of two meetings. More than 8,000 km separate Vienna and Bangkok. That's roughly the distance that appeared to be separating the minds of people attending very different meetings that took place in the two capitals last week. Vienna saw lots of talk about ice, particularly the Arctic kind... and not much of it was optimistic. We saw new models of how quickly Arctic sea ice will melt, and new attempts to understand key mechanisms affecting the Greenland ice sheet. 

Take a trans-continental jet over to Bangkok, meanwhile, and we see politics and science trading places.  Those of you familiar with the UN process will know that for the last few years the official negotiations have been run along two parallel tracks - one dealing with the Kyoto Protocol, the other (named Long-term Co-operative Action, or LCA) with everything else.  This was a week-long meeting, and the LCA group did not agree on its agenda until the Thursday evening.



polarseaHow Fast Will Arctic Shipping Grow? Analysis: An important part of the narrative surrounding the Arctic involves the expected increase in shipping as polar ice melts and recedes. The possibilities have gotten the shipping industry's attention, as well as sparked concerns about foreign use of the Northwest Passage, spurred development of a Polar Code to regulate international shipping, and piqued Chinese interest. Amidst all of the speculation, what can we realistically expect to happen with Arctic shipping in the next 10 to 15 years? The short answer is that Arctic shipping activity will increase, but only certain kinds, and only at certain times of the year. Alaska Dispatch 


Individual Responsibility is Key in Climate Battle. I very much applaud Brent Harold's April 5 column, "Widespread climate-change denial." The problem of creating awareness and response to climate change is a huge one, and approaching it from the perspective of individual responsibility is seldom cited as a means of countering the "hole" the world is digging for itself. The writer is former chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. Cape Cod Times 


Melting Arctic Ice is a Challenge for U.S. North of Alaska, a Coast Guard cutter is mapping the ocean floor so the United States can increase its claim to the oil and gas reserves that lie beneath the Arctic waters. Other countries with Arctic coastlines are charting the continental shelves to make similar claims under the treaty that deals with jurisdiction in the Arctic, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Canada and Russia are making claims. The Day 


Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Recently, NOAA released a petition finding to list Chinook salmon as an endangered and threatened species.  The Federal Register notice is available here.


Ulmer Notes Failure of Congress to Act in Wake of Deepwater Horizon. With the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster nearly upon us, a member of the former presidential commission that reviewed it said she's disappointed rubber duck covered in oilCongress hasn't acted on the group's recommendations to prevent another spill. Importantly, Congress should increase the "woefully inadequate" liability cap of $75 million for offshore spills to provide enough money for a major clean-up and to deter companies from making similar missteps, said Fran Ulmer, speaking with a reporter after delivering a keynote speech at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Monday. The Arctic Sounder


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 1473, Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. (Rogers- introduced and referred to multiple committees)

Future Events     


What does the National Ocean Policy Mean for the Arctic Region, On April 19, 2011, University of Alaska Fairbank's "Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy" (ACCAP) will host a webinar titled "What does the National Ocean Policy mean for the Arctic region?"  Please join Dr. Cheryl Rosa, of the US Arctic Research Commission and Dr. Mary Boatman from the Executive Office of the President, to to learn about the development of a strategic action plan for changing conditions in the Arctic, and to share your comments, questions, and ideas.


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution (pdf), May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

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.  


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute, Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a forum titled "The Arctic Imperative: Think of the Bering Strait as the Next Panama Canal."  The forum will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics just as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.  The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. icediminisharcticNational Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover on a wide range of maritime operations. The forum, the fourth in a series, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies.


7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011

The 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 Muskokaddresses 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16. The conference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future

A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy, on September 20-23, 2011. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occur. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here


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 permafrostwill 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. 


Arctic/ Inuit/ Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.



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