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 Hverager