US Arctic Research Commission
August 9, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will host pro forma sessions.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Climate Change Threatens Arctic Cod. Higher sea water temperatures led to northward migration of marine species, possibly creating problems for Arctic cod and other fish stocks in the Barents Sea, scientists believe. Barents Observer


Study of Arctic Sea Ice Offers Clues About Its History, Mystery. The uninhabited northern tip of Greenland may be the most forbidding environment on Earth. Winter brings howling darkness and months of brutal chill. When a brief summer melt exposes its desolate gravel beaches, the silent shoreline remains in the perpetual grip of frozen seawater. Even as the Arctic's overall summer ice cover shrinks to record and near-record levels in the relatively balmy western Arctic off Alaska and Russia, Greenland's Far North hunkers down, holding off the siege of climate change with its horrendous weather and cooperative currents, perhaps the very last refuge of undiluted Ice Age in the North.

Alaska Dispatch


A Necessary Condition for Arctic Drilling. [Editorial] The Obama Oil Drilling in Alaskaadministration's decision on Thursday to give "conditional approval" to Royal Dutch Shell's plans to begin drilling four shallow-water wells in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska alarmed many environmentalists. Cleaning up an oil spill in the frigid, turbulent waters of the Arctic Ocean is likely to be far more complicated than it was in the comparatively benign waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We have misgivings about this plan for just that reason. But President Obama, who indicated last year that he would honor Shell's leases if it passed various environmental reviews, seems determined to proceed. The administration should require that Shell meet basic safeguards before it receives final permits to begin punching holes in the ocean floor. New York Times


Kivalina's Orange Goo Turns Out to be Eggs: MYSTERY: They may be crustacean; experts unsure if they're toxic. Scientists have identified an orange-colored gunk that appeared along the shore of a remote Alaska village as millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets. But the mystery is not quite solved. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday they don't know for sure what species the eggs are, although they believe they are some kind of crustacean eggs or embryos. They also don't know if the eggs are toxic, and that worries many of the 374 residents of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef on Alaska's northwest coast. Anchorage Daily News 


Arctic Tour on Deck for Governor General. Remember what happened the last time a governor general went to Nunavut? It was in May 2009 when Michaelle Jean sliced into a slaughtered seal, cut off a piece of its heart and ate it raw in a gesture of solidarity with the Inuit and their age-old hunting practices. The act drew both praise and derision as pro- and anti-seal hunt camps weighed in on the politically charged act many would consider unusual for a governor general. Montreal Gazette


Canada "Too Small" to Development Northwest Passage arctic shippingShipping, Diplomat Says. Canada will lose out to Russia's Arctic shipping routes because it is too small to finance the infrastructure, France's ambassador for the polar regions said Monday. Melting polar ice will make Canada's Northwest Passage more accessible in the next decades, but Canada does not seem interested in exploiting it for shipping, said Michel Rocard, who recently returned from a tour of the Arctic aboard the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen. Vancouver Sun


Parnell Lays Out the Rules for Alaska's Lieutenant Governor: DUTIES: Commissioners showed concern, he said. Gov. Sean Parnell has moved to rein in his lieutenant governor, insinuating that Mead Treadwell overstepped the boundaries Parnell set for him when he took office last year. In a letter dated July 28 and reported in newspapers over the weekend, Parnell clarified Treadwell's role in his administration, spelling out the constitutional role for Treadwell's job as duties being written in law and delegated by the governor. He underlined the last bit, just as he had in a Dec. 30 letter doling out additional responsibilities he wanted Treadwell to take on -- regarding Arctic and sea floor mapping issues -- if Treadwell were willing. Anchorage Daily News


Another Resource Boom in Canadian Arctic? Faro, a small community in canadian flag 

Canada's Yukon, is enjoying the economic benefits of the territory's mineral exploration boom, with some residents feeling optimistic that the town will become a major centre again. Many local businesses in Faro, a town of about 350 in central Yukon, are busy catering to mining exploration projects in the area. "It was one of those things - you was build it and they will come," Murray Hampton, who operates a local hotel and restaurant, told CBC News. Alaska Dispatch  


Salazar: Nation Must Invest in Arctic. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says a greater investment is needed to build up the nation's Arctic infrastructure. Salazar, who's making his third visit to Alaska as secretary, said Monday that the U.S. Coast Guard doesn't have what would be considered a functioning, state-of-the-art icebreaker for use in the Arctic, lagging behind other nations with interests in the region. He says much work remains, and that he sees a role for public and private interests. Denver Post

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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