US Arctic Research Commission
February 7, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is in session and expected to consider the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization. The House is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


The Week at a Glance: Feb. 7-11, 2011. This week, the House of Representatives will consider anti-terrorism, intelligence and trade reauthorization bills.  The House may also consider a resolution to direct committees to review the impact of federal regulations of jobs and economic growth.  The Senate is expected to consider the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization and judicial nominations. Congressional Quarterly


The Winter the Arctic Shifted South. There's a reason the weather has felt more typical of the Arctic than of the Lower 48: the Arctic conditions have been on an extended sojourn here, having left the far north sometime in December. The Arctic itself was relatively mild in January. In fact, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that Arctic sea ice extent during January reached the lowest level on record for the month, with unusually low ice extent noted in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait. "Normally, these areas freeze over by late November, but this year Hudson Bay did not completely freeze over until mid-January," NSIDC reported. "The Labrador Sea remains largely ice free." According to NSIDC, Arctic air temperatures and sea ice conditions were significantly affected by the configuration of a natural climate pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation, or AO. The AO, which is closely related to the North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO, refers to opposing pressure patterns in middle and high northern latitudes. Washington Post


Senate Appropriator Predicts Another Short-Term Funding Measure. With a limited number of legislative days left before the March 4 expiration of the current continuing resolution and House Republicans at odds with Democrats over about $34 billion in cuts, Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, predicted that Congress would pass another short-term funding extension. "I don't think we will have time to adequately study and to do what we should do, confer with the committee, then have a conference [between the chambers]; we just don't have the time," Inouye said, adding that he was still reviewing the GOP funding guidelines. "So we will have to have a short CR." Government Executive 


Polar Bear Seeking Ice Floes Swam 426 Miles Non-stop. Researchers tracking aPolar bear polar bear outfitted with a radio-collar found that she swam an astounding 426 miles without a break in search of scarce ice floes and food in the Arctic sea, according to the academic journal Polar Biology.The 500-pound female polar bear, known as 20741, swam for nine days without stopping before reaching an ice pack. She then walked or swam 1,118 more miles before reaching Alaskan soil a few miles from the Canadian border. USA Today 


Greenland's Race for Minerals Threatens Culture on the Edge of Existence: In his third dispatch from Greenland, Stephen Pax Leonard reports on the changes facing the Inughuit people, as mining of the country's vast untapped mineral wealth looks set to overwhelm their traditions. The old Inuktun word greenlandfor February is hiqinnaaq - the time when the sun reappears. In this part of Greenland, the sun rises above the horizon again on 17 February, finally bringing to an end the kapirdaq (the dark period) which lasts for three and a half months. There has been much discussion in Greenland and elsewhere about the first sunrise this year in Ilulissat, down the coast. For the first time in living memory, the sun rose above the horizon two days early - a phenomenon that has baffled Greenlanders and scientists. Currently, some believe that the most plausible explanation is, as you might expect, global warming. It is thought that the Greenland ice sheet and the glaciers surrounding the town are melting so rapidly that it is now possible to see a lower part of the horizon that was previously hidden by the ice. Recent data shows that the ice sheet melted at a record rate in 2010. If the entire body of ice were one day to melt, global sea levels would rise by more than seven meters, putting many major cities around the world under water. The Guardian


Failure to Report on Fishery Undermines Canada's claim to Arctic. Canada's claim to sovereignty over the Arctic is being undermined by the federal government's failure to track Northern fisheries and to report catch data to the United Nations, say researchers from the University of British Columbia. "Canada makes a point about the Arctic, asserting sovereignty over the Arctic . . .[but] you have the impression of neglect," said Prof. Daniel Pauly of UBC's Fisheries Center. The Globe and Mail 


State of the Arctic Conference Resolution. The State of the Arctic Conference Resolution summarizes four key recommendations for future arctic science efforts: (1) Develop Responses to Arctic Change and Advance Solution-Driven Science, (2) Fully Implement a Coordinated and Multi-Disciplinary Arctic Observing System, (3) Optimize Existing Efforts for Projecting Future States of the Arctic System, and (4) Promote Open Access to Arctic Areas and Data. An initial draft of the Resolution was presented at the conference and discussed during the final plenary session. This final draft was developed with extensive input from conference participants and the organizing committee. ISAC

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Eventsfutureevents      


President's Budget, February 7. By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.


Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.


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.


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