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December 20, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is in session to consider expiring tax concerns. The Senate is not expected to hold a formal session until January.


The SCience ICe EXercise (SCICEX) program recently announced they've updated their website, available here. The SCICEX program is an interagency effort to collaborate operational Navy, research agencies, and the marine research community to use nuclear-powered submarines for scientific studies of the Arctic Ocean. The goal of the program is to acquire comprehensive data about Arctic sea ice, water properties (biological, chemical, and hydrographic), and water depth (bathymetry) to improve our understanding of the Arctic Ocean basin and its role in the Earth's climate system.  

Media Reviewtodaysevents 


russian flagDozens Missing or Dead After Russian Offshore Oil Rig Sinks. The Russian oil rig Kolskaya sunk 200 miles off the east coast of Sakhalin late Saturday night in stormy weather with 67 crewmembers on board. So far, four people have been found dead and 14 people rescued, while 49 people still remain lost. The Kolskaya sunk in 20 minutes in 15-foot, 32-degree seas. In Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev called for all necessary help to be directed towards the rescue efforts. The Neftegaz-55, which had been towing the Kolskaya to the port of Kholmsk, in western Sakhalin, and the icebreaker Magadan were at the scene assisting with the rescue efforts. Alaska Dispatch 


NarwhaleNarwhal Task Ban Partially Lifted: NTI applauds the decision which it says is based on new aerial surveys. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has partially lifted its international trade restrictions on narwhal tusks. The department imposed the restriction on 17 communities in Nunavut one year ago. For months now, the federal government and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, an Inuit land claim organization, have been working on a plan to help settle the dispute. The decision is based on some new information about narwhal populations, which was gathered over the past year. CBC News


Permafrost Thaw-Just How Scary Is It? One of the least understood - and one of the more unnerving - facets of climate change is the question of what will happen as the Arctic region heats up and permafrost in places like Alaska and Siberia thaws out. There's a whole lot of carbon locked up in all that frozen soil and organic matter. And, as the frost melts, that carbon will enter the atmosphere, most of it as carbon dioxide, but some of it transformed by bacteria into methane, an even more powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas. That, in turn, will warm the planet further. It's a potent feedback mechanism, and scientists still aren't sure just how potent it might be. Currently, permafrost thaw isn't very well incorporated into existing climate models. Indeed, most of the widely cited computer models - the ones that experts rely on to argue, for instance, that global greenhouse-gas emissions should peak in the next five years if we want to limit warming to 2C - actually underestimate the role permafrost could play in warming the planet. "There's a growing realization of how large that carbon stock is," says David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "The models are still playing catch-up." Washington Post 


permafrostPermafrost Science Heats Up in the United States: Program will examine effect of Arctic warming on frozen soils. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is embarking on a US $100-million research program to investigate what will happen to the 1,500 billion tons of organic carbon locked up in frozen soils of the far northern permafrost when they thaw in the rapidly warming Arctic climate. The program, called the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments - Arctic (NGEE), is designed to develop a fine-scale model that can simulate how soil microbes, plants and groundwater interact on the scale of centimeters to tens of meters, to control the amount of organic carbon stored underground in the permafrost zone. That model will be incorporated into the planetary-scale Earth-system models used to forecast how climate evolves under different emissions scenarios. Nature


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2012.   Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here. 


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, 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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