US Arctic Research Commission
January 31, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate is in session and is expected to consider legislation to reauthorize the FAA. The House is not in session.


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate Takes its Time. The Senate is known for being the most deliberative body in the world, but in January, the chamber hasn't even bothered much with deliberating. And it doesn't look like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is looking to step up the pace anytime soon. There have been only six Senate votes so far this year. The primary debate has been over arcane Senate rules reforms. The big legislative agenda item this week is a Federal Aviation Administration policy bill, and the Senate also may tackle a yet-to-be-defined, small business "innovation" bill. Politico


Commission Faults Agency, Industry, in Gulf Spill. President Obama in June FranUlmertapped University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Fran Ulmer for the presidential commission investigating the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, and as crude oil continued to spew from the Macondo well 40 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska's former lieutenant governor found herself in a helicopter sizing up the spill. She spoke to worried local officials, watched responders pick up oiled pelicans, and remembered 1989, when she witnessed millions of gallons of crude oil spew from a tanker gashed on a rock in Prince William Sound. Bloomberg


CDC Opens Arctic Medical Lab. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has opened a $2.3 million Arctic Investigations Program laboratory at the Alaska Native Medical Center campus in Anchorage. The lab includes renovation of the old lab and a new annex. The CDC said the additional space is needed because the lab is part of a national and international network of facilities. Anchorage Daily News


Alaska Bear.  The Coast Guard published the "Alaska Bear," covering USCGlogoCoast Guard  activities in the Arctic.  Survival training in the Arctic continues to be a large focus of the Coast Guard.


Murkowski Urges America's Native Peoples to Fight for Share of Federal Dollars. In the face of fresh efforts to reduce federal spending, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today said that America's Native peoples must be prepared to fight hard for federal dollars that go towards the Indian Health Service and other federal Indian programs which have suffered from chronic underfunding. "In an era in which the federal spending pie is shrinking, competition for a slice of the pie will be fierce," Murkowski said. "But our resolve to fight for the funding levels must remain high. We cannot be deterred in our fight to achieve the funding levels our Native people deserve." Senator Lisa Murkowski 


Black Names Eugene R. Virden as Alaska Regional Director. Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Michael S. Black today announced that he has named Eugene R. Virden as Regional Director of the BIA's Alaska Regional Office in Juneau. Virden, an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, had been the acting regional director since December 2009. The Alaska Regional Office oversees two agencies serving 229 federally recognized Alaska Native tribes and villages. His appointment will become effective on January 30, 2011. Bureau of Indian Affairs


Arctic Waters Warmer Than in 2,000 Years. Water flowing from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean is warmer today than at any time in the past 2,000 years, a new study shows. The waters of the Fram Strait, which runs between Greenland and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, have warmed roughly 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years, the study's authors said. The water temperatures are about 2.5 degrees higher than during the Medieval Warm Period, a time of elevated warmth from A.D. 900 to 1300. New York Times Blog  


Nunavut Heritage Sites Face Climate Threat: archaeological sites could be analyzed with 3D technology, then stabilized. Nunavut archaeological sites threatened by climate change may be saved thanks to new high-tech equipment, says the territory's director of culture and heritage. Doug Stenton said new 3D technology and a ground-penetrating radar system can be used to quickly map the surface and sub-surface, and could be used to deal with sites affected by coastal erosion and melting permafrost. CBC News


Arctic Canary Looking Sicker than Ever. If the Arctic really is the "canary in the coal mine" for climate change impacts, as it has often been labelled, then it's a canary about which we know a little more following a spate of scientific papers coming out over the last week or so. And looking at what they say, as well as readings from instruments monitoring the canary's heath, the signs of sickness appear to be stronger and more certain than before. There are several distinct symptoms that need monitoring here: sea-ice area and volume, air temperature and wind, water temperature and currents, and the state of the Greenland icecap. BBC News Blog

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No legislation of Arctic-interest was formally considered yesterday.

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.

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.


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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