US Arctic Research Commission
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January 11, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents

 

Operating on a schedule changed in response to the Jan. 8 shooting in Arizona, the House meets in a pro forma session with no votes expected. A Wednesday vote is scheduled on a resolution regarding the shooting; action on repeal of the health care law has been postponed, possibly to next week. The Senate is in recess until Jan. 25.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  

 

Oil Spill Panel Calls for Drilling Reform. A bipartisan commission, including UA'sFranUlmer Fran Ulmer, appointed by President Obama to investigate last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill is set to recommend a higher liability level for companies involved in a spill, more time for federal regulators to review drilling permits and a host of other ways to update federal and industry safety and oversight. The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling is keeping details of the roughly 300-page, 10-chapter report close to the vest ahead of Tuesday's 10 a.m. public rollout. Politico

 

Coast Guard Struggles to Find Volunteers for Oil Spill Training. The Canadian Coast Guard now has oil spill kits in place in 15 communities across the territory, but training on how to use the equipment remains a challenge. "It's about getting people engaged and volunteering for this type of training and we're running up against a bit of a lack of availability," said Larry Trigatti, coast guard superintendent of environmental response in the central and Arctic region. The last of the oil spill kits or "Arctic community packs" was delivered at the beginning of October. Northern News Services
 

Using Narwhals to Gauge Climate Change. Emerging from icy Arctic waters, Narwhalenarwhals, with their unicorn-like teeth, have captured the imagination of researchers and explorers for centuries. Not only do they have that impressive six- to nine-foot tusk, but they also dive as deep as 4,500 feet and plunge below the surface as many as 24 times a day for half an hour at a time, making them the perfect species to collect ocean temperatures. And that's exactly what they're providing scientists, allowing researchers to draw critical conclusions about our warming seas. Audubon Magazine
 

Spill Panel Pushes Liability Cap: Congress Has Balked at Lifting Industry Exposure; Bigger Safety Focus on Arctic. Congress should raise the cap on oil companies' liability for offshore spills and improve the U.S. Coast Guard's ability to respond to spills in the Arctic, a presidential panel is set to conclude Tuesday. The panel's report, which could influence federal policy on offshore drilling, is also expected to recommend that as much as 80% of fines paid by companies for Clean Water Act violations in connection with last spring's Deepwater Horizon accident go toward funding the long-term restoration of the Gulf Coast's ecosystem, according to people familiar with the report.  Wall Street Journal

 

US Slow to Protect Arctic Interests. U.S. reaction to the opening of arctic sea lanes and access to seabed resources as global warming reduces ice in the region is slow and inadequate, experts say. The Obama administration considers the arctic an area of key strategic interest, and the U.S. military expects the arctic will become "ice-free" for several weeks each summer, possibly as early as 2013. However, military and civilian resources needed to successfully operate there are lacking and there are few indications of any significant changes coming.UPI

 

NOAA's Regional Navigation Managers to Meet with Maritime Community. As "ambassadors" to the nation's maritime community, the 12 regional navigation managers of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey understand the value and economic importance of America's maritime transportation system. In early 2011, they will conduct extensive outreach to better understand emerging requirements and ensure that NOAA's products and services promote the safe and efficient movement of U.S. exports and commerce. In addition, the navigation manager for Alaska will participate in a planning meeting on January 13 to explore NOAA's role in the interagency effort to relocate the native village of Newtok to its new site on Nelson Island. The village's original location is deteriorating due to severe erosion and flooding. NOAA
 

On the lighter side...The first 5 people to correctly identify all five scientists in this photo will win a USARC pen or a patch (your choice, see below). If the year and the approximate location are also identified, the contestant will receive both prizes. Send entries to kfarrow@arctic.gov. 
 

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Photo from Pat Webber archives.

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Legislative Actionfutureevents
 

 

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

 

Future Eventsfutureevents

  
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 17-21. Within each theme (Bering AMSS 2011 promoSea, Arctic Ocean, and Gulf of Alaska), presenters will discuss climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.
 
National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, January 19-21. One of the conference themes is "White Arctic/Blue Arctic." This theme will address ice changes in the Arctic to consider several questions: What does science tell us about the future of the Arctic? How would issues about the future - white or blue - be resolved? What models and monitoring data will be required to support an emerging management regime that would allow for sustainable use of the Arctic? How can use of the Arctic and its resources be managed in the face of these possibilities?
 

95th meeting of the USARC, Jan. 21, Anchorage. The USARC will meet in the usarc logo smallQuadrant room of the Captain Cook Hotel, starting at 8:30 am. A detailed agenda is now available at www.arctic.gov.
 

Public Forum on Natural Gas Markets, January 22. The federal coordinator's office for the Alaska natural gas pipeline will sponsor a public forum on gas markets Jan. 22 to help Alaskans better understand the supply-and-demand fundamentals affecting the proposed pipeline project. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects will bring to Alaska several national experts on Lower 48 supply and demand issues including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas. Panelists

  

Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North.
 
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.
 

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 504-s@diplo.de.
 

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, 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.

 

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.  More details to follow.
 

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