US Arctic Research Commission
January 24, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate is in recess.  The House is expected to consider a rule to govern debate on legislation to cut federal spending.


Rural Health Care Policy. The National Rural Health Association will hold a conference on rural health care policy.


Rural Health Care Issues.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will hold a news conference to discuss rural health care issues and announce funding for state education and health services through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. 

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


The Week at a Glance: January 24-28, 2011. This week, the President will give his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress; the House will consider a resolution to reduce spending to 2008 levels, a bill to end public financing of presidential campaigns; and both the House and the Senate will hold oversight hearings on re-writing 2010 health care overhaul  legislation.  Congressional Quarterly


Senate Panel Ratios Still in Limbo.  Nearly three weeks after the Senate was gaveled into session, the chamber remains virtually frozen as a result of unresolved disputes over proposals to change Senate rules and the ratios of committees. The limbo is, in part, on purpose. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a procedural trick that allows him to hold open the first legislative day of the session until the Senate returns on Tuesday. Roll Call


Murkowski Announces State Office Leadership Transition.  U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced that her State Director, Kevin Sweeney, will be leaving the official office to pursue other opportunities. In addition to serving as state director, Sweeney most recently managed the senator's write-in campaign, and he will remain as an advisor and representative to the Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate Campaign. Senator Lisa Murkowski


New Shipping Rules Urged to Avert "Arctic Titanic." The Arctic Ocean needs tough new shipping rules as a rapid thaw opens the remote, icy region and brings risks of disasters on the scale of the Titanic, politicians and experts said on Monday. "We need to agree on a new binding polar code" for shipping, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told Reuters during a conference on "Arctic Frontiers" in Tromsoe, a city north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. New shipping standards could cover designs to resist ice, new equipment and navigation rules, he said. In one step toward improved safety, the eight nations in the Arctic Council are due to agree to new search and rescue rules in May. Reuters


Learning to Speak of Depression, Suicide. [Commentary] "I know some about depression and suicide; I have attempted three times in my life to commit suicide and have suffered depression for many years. I thought I was alone in the world and had no one to talk to or understand me. I found years later that I am not alone, and neither are you. My upbringing wasn't the best in the world, but it wasn't the worst either. I'm not saying I am an expert, or know how everyone is feeling about these subjects, but I do know about depression and thoughts of suicide and trying to relieve the pain with drugs and alcohol." Alaska Dispatch 


Researchers Get Grant to Study Deadly Disease Plaguing Arctic Birds. A new bird disease has arrived in Canada's Arctic, one so lethal it can kill thousands of ducks in a dense colony in a lightning-fast outbreak. Eider ducks stricken with avian cholera can die so fast that they remain upright on their eggs, eyes open. Some fall out of the sky, dead. Others survive unharmed, surrounded by corpses. Now Carleton University and Environment Canada will get more than $500,000 to study the disease - which birds get it, how it spreads, why some survive, and how it arrived in the Arctic after decades of existing farther south. The Montreal Gazette  


Habitat Designation Threatens Rural Life: COMPASS: Other points of view. [Opinion] The Department of Interior's recent critical habitat designation for polar bears should concern all Americans. The department's decision is flawed; it is a poor attempt to legislate climate change through regulation, a failure of national security policy and simply bad federal Indian policy. Last week 11 Alaska Native groups and the North Slope Borough filed a 60-day intent to sue the Department of Interior over the designation of nearly 200,000 square miles as "critical habitat" for polar bears in Alaska. To put this into perspective, this designation is larger than the state of California, covers three Arctic seas and stretches up to 20 miles inland. Anchorage Daily News 


Barrow-made 'On the Ice' Film to Premiere Tonight at Sundance. Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's film, On the Ice, premieres tonight at the Sundance Film Festival, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.  The Barrow-native filmmaker was interviewed by the Arctic Sounder on his dramatic film that takes place in Barrow. Arctic Sounder

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Eventsfutureevents

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.


Oil Spill Commission Report, January 26.  The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Final Report from the President's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling."


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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