US Arctic Research Commission
February 14, 2011


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The President's budget request was released today. President Obama's budget documents are available here.


The Senate is expected to consider legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The House is expected to consider expiring provisions of the Patriot Act


You can now follow the U.S. Arctic Research Commission on Facebook and Twitter! The links to both are in the contact information at the end of this email.


Happy Valentine's Day. 

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


The Week Ahead: Spending and Cuts. President Obama will release his 2012 budget proposal Monday, his first since Republicans took control of the House. Obama said he is prepared to cut $400 billion in domestic spending from the federal budget. Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew previewed some of the cuts last week, including programs focusing on cleaning up the Great Lakes and heating programs for low-income families. In addition, House Republicans will be dealing with spending issues as they scramble to put together a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government beyond March 4. An original CR had to be shelved last week, after freshman Republicans argued the cuts did not go deep enough. Republicans are hoping to vote on a new package, containing $100 billion in cuts, towards the end of the week. The Hill


Fiscal 2011 Spending Showdown Set As Senate Democrats Likely to Fight House GOP Proposal. House Republican leaders have made good on their promise to conservatives to produce a spending bill that would cut tens of billions of dollars out of the federal government's budget. But rewriting their fiscal 2011 spending measure to find an additional $26 billion in savings over current spending - on top of the $32 billion in reductions they had originally proposed - could make the measure even more unattractive to Senate Democrats already wary of making big spending cuts. Congressional Quarterly


U.S. Icebreakers Can't Handle Alaska Oil Spills: Official. The U.S. Coast Guard does not have enough working icebreakers to respond to a major oil spill in Alaskan waters, the top official who oversaw the containment of the BP oil spill warned Congress on Friday. "The current condition of the Coast Guard icebreaker fleet should be of great concern to the senior leaders of this nation," General Thad Allen testified at a House Transportation subcommittee hearing on last summer's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Reuters


Joint Arctic Naval Exercise. Norwegian and Russian military will host Arctic bilateral exercises this year. Barents Observer


Itta Honored at his Last Kivgaq as Mayor. The North Slope Borough Assembly generously praised outgoing Mayor Ed Itta and his wife, Elsie, lavishing them with kind words, an oil painting portrait and traditional dances by the mayor's staff.  The honor, given in front of hundreds at the 2011 Kivgiq festival on Friday, came as a surprise, the mayor said. "I'm so thankful for this honor, and I'm so thankful that of all the things that we could be, that God made us Inupiaq," he said to cheers as his wife wiped away tears. The Arctic Sounder 


NASA: Arctic Sea Ice Extent in January is Lowest in Recorded History. While extreme weather conditions and unusually cold temperatures have gripped much of North America and Europe this winter, unusually warm temperatures farther north produced the lowest Arctic sea ice extent ever recorded for the month of January, according to NASA. Areas such as Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait - which typically freeze over by late November - did not completely freeze until mid-January, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). And the Labrador Sea was also unusually ice-free. In this NASA graphic (left), based on satellite data, blue indicates open water, white illustrates high sea ice concentrations, and turquoise indicates loosely packed ice. The yellow line indicates the average January sea ice extent from 1979 through 2000. Scientists say the bizarre weather may be the result of a shift in a climate pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation, which has led to frigid Arctic air pouring south across North America and Europe while regions in the Arctic have been unusually warm. Reuters


Rep. King: GOP Should 'Stare Down' Obama Over Government Shutdown. Republicans should stare President Obama down and force more than $100 billion in cuts from current spending, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told The Ballot Box. "We're not addressing the real problem with this," King said. "A hundred billion dollars is a piece of cake, but that's not staring the president down. If members of the House are sending signals that we are afraid of the president shutting down the government, then the president will get everything he's willing to fight for." The Hill


Obama Avoids Entitlements for Fiscal 2012 Budget Request. President Barack Obama will present a fiscal 2012 budget request Monday that his administration contends will return annual deficits to a sustainable level by mid-decade without substantial cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. The plan cuts $1.1 trillion in deficits over the coming decade, with about two-thirds coming from spending reductions and the rest from tax increases, according to two senior administration officials. Roll Call 


Implement the National Ocean Policy. The proposed budget includes the following: The National Ocean Policy provides a comprehensive approach, based on science and technology, to uphold our stewardship responsibilities for marine ecosystems.  The goals for 2012 are to implement strategic action plans, develop a national information management system, and support regionally-based coastal and marine spatial planning.  The Budget provides the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) $20 million in grants to advance regional ocean management through support for regional ocean partnerships, while NOAA and DOI receive a combined $12 million for data integration and management.  Additional funding is also proposed for fisheries stock assessments and oil spill research and response. Priority activities also include understanding changing conditions in the Arctic; improving observations, mapping, and infrastructure; and increasing resiliency and adaptation of coastal communities and marine ecosystems to climate change and ocean acidification. The White House

Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 1, full year continuing appropriations (to fund government operations through the end of FY 2011) (Rogers- introduced and referred to committee)


H.R. 680, to prohibit United States contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Luetkemeyer- introduced and referred to committee)


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? University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, and share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.


Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.  


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme Muskokaddresses 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 i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
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.   


Operating in the Arctic: Supporting the US Coast Guard Challenges Through Research, Sept. 21-23, 2010. This workshop, held on at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Arctic Research Commission, explored and identified ways in which scientific research and development can improve the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate and carry out its statutory missions in the Arctic region. Participation in this event included state, local and international stakeholders, academics and researchers, and USCG and other federal agency officials. A funding opportunity associated with this activity is described here.


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference permafrostwill be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.   


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 

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