US Arctic Research Commission
August 12, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


Coast Guard in Alaska, today. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a field hearing titled: "Keeping the Coast Guard 'Always Ready' in Alaska."

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Study: Arctic Sea Ice Will Ebb, Grow. Research suggests that despite the long gradual decline of Arctic sea ice, it's just as likely in the short term to experience a few years of stability or even growth. "You know where the road is going, but there's some bumps along the way," said Jennifer Kay, a researcher at the U.S.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research. "You're going downhill, but you have to go uphill to get there and sometimes those hills are bigger than you thought." The Chronicle Herald


Salazar, KenSalazar: Balance Arctic Development and Protection. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says that the federal government will continue to move forward toward offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic, while ensuring protection of the fragile Arctic environment. His comments at a news conference in Anchorage yesterday came at the end of Salazar's third trip to Alaska, with stops in Kodiak, Anchorage, North Slope oilfields, Barrow and Denali National Park, with much emphasis on oilfield development permits. Alaska Dispatch 


Arctic Emergency Towing System Test Successful. icebergtowingThe Coast Guard, industry resources and the Alaska National Guard successfully tested the emergency towing system three miles offshore of the Red Dog Mine Portsite in the Chuckchi Sea 83 miles north of Kotzebue August 9. "This was a successful exercise for all involved and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Red Dog Mine and FOSS, without their resources and professionalism we would not have accomplished this effort," said Lt. Cmdr. Maeve Keogh, District Seventeen response management. "The mine put us up and made their equipment available to us and when the Air National Guard helicopter crew had to abort the FOSS tug stepped in to transport the ETS before towing the SPAR."


More Traffic Along the Northern Sea Route. Cargo transported along the Northern Sea Route is expected to skyrocket in the next decade. Climate change is expected to make it possible to use larger vessels than before. As a result, larger tankers are expected to be in use, leaving Murmansk, beginning in August. Barents Observer


Barrow Vital to CG's Future Arctic Presence. The City of Barrow, Alaska, is about as far north as a person can get on U.S. soil. Any further and you would step into the Arctic Ocean near the center of potential future oil and gas exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. With its strategic location in mind, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp visited Barrow earlier this week to meet with local officials, walk the terrain and learn first-hand about the challenges that face future Coast Guard operations there. "Melting Arctic ice is opening a brand new ocean that may contains 20 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and oil resources," said Papp, adding, "With greater waters, comes greater Coast Guard responsibility."


Canadian Forces Begin Arctic Sovereignty Operation. Canadian Navy ships sail to canadian flagthe Arctic this week to launch the annual sovereignty and training mission called Operation Nanook. The operation, which involves forces from the Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Canadian Rangers, focuses on Arctic sovereignty exercises and will continue until late August. Forces from the Royal Danish Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard are also taking part in the Canadian-led mission. "Operation Nanook demonstrates our Government's commitment to Canada's sovereignty and cooperation in the Arctic region," Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay said in a statement. The Epoch Times 


Scientists to Track Acidification in Arctic Ocean. Scientists from the Geological Survey will embark next week on an expedition to monitor acidification trends in the Arctic Ocean linked to carbon emissions, the agency said. The USGS scientists will spend seven weeks on a Coast Guard icebreaker, getting as close to the North Pole as possible to take water samples and test for chemical indicators of acidification, officials said. The Baltimore Sun 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events                     


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 exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011. "Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hveragerđi, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different  perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


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.    


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

September 20-23, 2011. 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. 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 occurs. 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. Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011. Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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. Details to follow.   


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


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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