US Arctic Research Commission
January 13, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The House and Senate are in recess.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Business Welcomes a White House Ally. President Barack Obama's new chief of staff, William Daley, is being welcomed by the business lobby, which views the former bank executive as a kindred spirit who at least will give their issues a fair airing in the White House. Daley has built up a network of support on K Street over the past two decades, both as Commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton as well as in his top positions with some of the nation's most prominent companies. Roll Call


Appropriations Panel Cardinals Gear Up to Make Budget Cuts. GOP appropriators plan to cut federal agency budgets and steer administration policy by withholding funding from White House priorities, several cardinals on the spending committee said in separate interviews. The subcommittee chairmen, who are under orders from GOP leaders to craft a spending-cut package for floor action at the end of January, met with staff for the first time this week to start identifying cuts. The Hill 


GOP to Gather to Restart Agenda. House Republicans gather today in Baltimore to plot the path forward for their hard-fought new majority under the inevitable shadow of the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., which essentially put the GOP agenda on hold this week. But Members insist they don't plan to forestall their agenda for long and see no reason to alter their strategy for implementing it, even if they get a later start than they hoped. Roll Call


The Last Refuge for a Disappearing Icon of the North. The facts are disturbing. By the end of last summer, Arctic sea ice coverage was at its second-lowest rate since satellite recording began in 1979. The ice covered an average of 6 million square kilometers, falling 22 per cent below the average extent from 1979 to 2000. The extent of the Arctic's sea ice is dropping between nine and 11 per cent per decade. At that rate, it is expected there could be virtually no summer ice in the Arctic within the next 20 years. The future for polar bears looks bleaker than an Arctic vista. Rapidly melting sea ice, particularly the summer ice, may contribute to triggering a impending devastation of the polar bear population, which scientists recently estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000. It is expected that over the next 20 years, two-thirds of those animals could disappear. The remaining bears who live on a flank of the most northern tips of Canada and Greenland may find refuge there - at least for a while. McGill Reporter


Norway May Decide on Lofoten Study in March. Norway's government may decide in March whether to do an impact assessment study on allowing oil and gas activities in the pristine Lofoten archipelago in the Arctic, a senior official said on Thursday. "The management plan (of Lofoten will be presented) at the end of the first quarter this year. So by the end of March it should be put forward by the ministry of environment," Per Rune Henriksen, deputy oil and energy minister, told Reuters. Reuters 


Canada Gearing up to Sell Seal Meat to China. China has agreed to buy seal meat and seal oil from Canada, according to the federal fisheries minister. "[We are] natural partners in the seafood industry," Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said this week during a trade mission to China with Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman. Shea said the deal between Canada and China will be signed Thursday. "For the most part, our sealing industry derives its income from the sale of pelts," said Shea, in Beijing during a conference call with reporters. Alaska Dispatch


Survivor of Suicide Attempts Named to Prevention Council: STOPPING SUICIDE: Yup'ik woman also takes on sexual abuse, domestic violence. In her teens and 20s, Christine Moses of Bethel tried to kill herself, she says. Now 36, and appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell this week to represent rural towns and villages on the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, Moses believes she survived for a reason. "I feel that my experiences growing up are a blessing in disguise because through my experiences, I can help others that are going through similar things and say, 'Yes, I do know how you feel, and I do know that there is hope,' " Moses said. Anchorage Daily News


Suicide Rate Remains High in Alaska, Especially Among Natives. Suicide remains an epidemic in Alaska despite millions of dollars in program funding and substantial efforts by communities and organizations in the state over the past decade, a new report says. The report by the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council for fiscal year 2010 says Alaska's overall suicide rate is twice the national average, and that Alaska Natives continue to account for an even more disproportionate number. It also notes that an alarming suicide rate among the state's elderly residents warrants further scrutiny. Anchorage Daily News


Adak Asks to Ignore Sea Lion Restrictions. The city of Adak is asking permission to partially disregard fishing closures in state waters that are designed to protect Steller sea lions. The federal government is proposing the fishing closures to help Stellers in the central Aleutian Islands. The restrictions are meant to provide sea lions with more food. Fairbanks Daily News 


Alaska Sen. Murkowski Expects to Retain Ranking Spot. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski expects to retain her position as ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Robert Dillon, a spokesman for the committee's Republican members, says he's gotten no indication that her position is in jeopardy. Fairbanks Daily News


Alaska Science Forum: Mummified Forest Tells Tale of a Changing North. Two summers ago, Joel Barker was measuring gases wafting from the tundra on Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north. One day he took a break from his duties to check out a report from a warden stationed there at Canada's northernmost national park - in a land that has not hosted trees for thousands of years, the warden had seen some wood protruding from mud near a glacier. Barker, a researcher at Ohio State University, took a helicopter ride to a U-shaped valley that was home to a few musk oxen and ankle-high willows. There, the warden led him to a dirty pile of roots and small gray logs. Capital City Weekly  

Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 296, to resolve the claims of the Bering Straits Native Corporation and the State of Alaska to land adjacent to Salmon Lake in the State of Alaska and to provide for the conveyance to the Bering Straits Native Corporation of certain other public land in partial satisfaction of the land entitlement of the Corporation under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. (Introduced- Young, referred to committee)

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

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. 

State of the Union, January 25.  The President will address a joint session of Congress to present the State of the Union.


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

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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