US Arctic Research Commission
August 15, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Study Blames Humans for Half of Recent Arctic Ice Melt. About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. Boston Herald


Arctic Warming Unlocking a Fabled Waterway. The Arctic may be the arctic shippingworld's next geopolitical battleground. Temperatures there are rising faster than anywhere else in the world, and the melting ice will have profound consequences on the roof of the world, opening strategic waterways to shipping, reducing the ice cap on Greenland, and spurring a rush to claim rights to the wealth of natural resources that lie beneath. NPR examines what's at stake, who stands to win and lose, and how this could alter the global dynamic. NPR


USFWS Revised Draft CCP for Arctic Refuge Released. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases its revised draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge today. Bruce Woods, the Service's chief of media relations for the Alaska Region, said this is the regularly scheduled review process for refuges within the state. He said this revision was announced during the first public comment period in April 2010. "This will give the public another opportunity to comment," he said. Juneau Empire


Coast Guard Soon Will Require More Resources in Arctic, Commandant Says. PappWhile the Arctic Ocean becomes increasingly navigable as polar ice recedes, the US Coast Guard will require more specialized assets to patrol the area and respond to incidents, the commandant of the Coast Guard testified Friday. Speaking at a field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Anchorage, Ala., US Coast Guard Adm. Robert Papp said the Coast Guard has conducted exercises off the coast of Alaska but it has not yet run drills inside the Arctic Circle due to a lack of vessels that can sail those waters. HS Today


Greenland's Ice: Beauty and Threat. Greenland's Inuit people have countless terms in their language to describe ice in all its varieties. This gallery of photographs by AP's Brennan Linsley likewise is something of a visual vocabulary for the striking and beautiful forms ice takes on and around the giant Arctic island. Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers are melting more and more as the world warms, sending gushing water and towering icebergs into the sea, threatening to raise ocean levels worldwide in the years and decades to come. Researchers are hard at work trying to gauge how much will melt and when. Fox News


Russia's Arctic 'Sea Grab.' In a multinational race to seize the potential riches of the formerly icebound Arctic, being laid bare by global warming, Russia is the early favorite. Within the next year, the Kremlin is expected to make its claim to the United Nations in a bold move to annex about 380,000 square miles of the internationally owned Arctic to Russian control. At stake is an estimated one-quarter of all the world's untapped hydrocarbon reserves, abundant fisheries, and a freshly opened route that will cut nearly a third off the shipping time from Asia to Europe. The Christian Science Monitor 


Begich Told to Hold Hearing on Coast Guard. The begichcommandant of the Coast Guard says the nation must decide what level of pollution cleanup response capability it wants the agency to have in the Arctic. Adm. Robert Papp says that right now, the agency has none. Papp spoke Friday in Anchorage at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hosted by Sen. Mark Begich. The Alaska Democrat chairs the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. Juneau Empire 


Watchdog Group Slams EPA's Scientific Integrity Proposal While Defending Polar Bear Scientist. The EPA released a draft of its scientific integrity proposal last week in response to President Obama's 2009 directive that agencies adopt rules prohibiting political interference with science, promoting transparency and extending whistleblower protection to scientists.  But Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), says the proposal fails to achieve any of those goals. "EPA has put forward by far the weakest scientific integrity rules of any agency. In many ways, it is a big step backward," PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said. Fox News 


Might Commercial Space Tourism 'Take Off' in the Arctic? NASA's space shuttle program officially ended with two highly publicized final flights in July. And with that, human beings moved another step closer to something that some have dreamed about for years -- commercial space flight. Sweden wants in on the action, and one Swede in particular. Since 2007, a consortium has been working on a major project that would make Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, Europe's first place for space tourism. It's called Spaceport Sweden. Alaska Dispatch  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.


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 Hverager