US Arctic Research Commission
February 11, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to consider legislation to fund government operations for the rest of FY 2011.  The Senate is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


"Fresh" Water in the Arctic Ocean. In the Arctic Ocean, the cold, fresh water sits on atop saltier waters.The amount of freshwater in this layer, and how it moves, can affect the world's climate.  NBC video 


Energy Watchers Eye 'Liberated' Lisa Murkowski. Losing her primary, alienating Murkowski party leaders and giving up a prominent post in the GOP caucus have worked out well for Lisa Murkowski. Now the plums keep piling up for the Alaska senator: Last week she became the top Republican on the appropriations subcommittee overseeing Interior and EPA, in addition to the lead GOP spot she already holds on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That means she'll be a crucial player in decisions on climate rules, offshore oil and gas drilling, clean energy standards and other issues that will keep her under the microscope. She's also in a position to maintain the cordial working relationship with Democrats that helped inspire last year's tea party rebellion against her. Politico


House GOP Appropriators Search for Deeper Budget Cuts Demanded by Conservatives. House Republican appropriators are trying to find billions more in spending cuts, as leaders work to put together a bill that will meet conservative demands. But finding the $100 billion in savings demanded by House budget hawks could be difficult, with just a few days before the bill is due on the floor and many agencies already targeted. Congressional Quarterly


Frequent, Severe Fires Turn Alaskan Forests into a Carbon Production Line. wildfireAlaskan forests used to be important players in Mother Nature's game plan for regulating carbon dioxide levels in the air.  It's elementary earth science: Trees take up carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. But now, American and Canadian researchers report that climate change is causing wildfires to burn larger swaths of Alaskan trees and to char the groundcover more severely, turning the black spruce forests of Alaska from repositories of carbon to sources. And the more carbon dioxide they release, the greater impact that may have in turn on future climate change. Michigan Tech News 


Republicans Launch Assaults on Obama Administration's Climate and Clean Energy Programs. At a sprawling, daylong hearing punctuated by pictures of Arctic ice caps and coal miners, a House Energy and Commerce panel set the tone for what could be a months-long GOP war on the Obama Administration's climate and clean energy programs, beginning with U.S. EPA's plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee took what its chairman called a "wire brush " to the budget, proposing the removal of $58 billion in non-security discretionary budget funds relative to the fiscal 2011 White House request, including cuts to climate- and energy-related budgets at EPA, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies. New York Times


Tanana Ice Thinnest in 5 Years as Classic Tickets Go On Sale. Organizers of an thiniceAlaska springtime tradition say the Tanana River ice in Nenana is the thinnest for this time of year since 2006. Nenana Ice Classic officials say the ice was 38.3 inches thick on Tuesday. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Eventsfutureevents      


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Energy Department, February 16.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy.


Murkowski Alaska State Legislature Address, February 24. Senator Murkowski will deliver her annual address to the Alaska State Legislature.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Interior Department, March 2.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Interior.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Forest Service, March 3.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.


International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact


Arctic Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bod