US Arctic Research Commission
July 18, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider Military Construction-Veterans' Affairs appropriations legislation. The House is in session and will consider non-Arctic related legislation.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


NIH-Funded Research to Explore Oil Spill Health Effects. An NIH-funded network of researchers will evaluate potential harmful effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on reproduction and birth outcomes, the cardiorespiratory system, and behavior and mental health. The network of community and university partnerships, under the leadership of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), will conduct research to evaluate the level of potentially harmful contaminants in air, water, and seafood, and assess their relationship to health outcomes. National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region 


Coast Guard's Arctic Agenda Heats Up. If regions were given hospitality rankings, the Arctic would fall somewhere between zero and below zero stars. Temperatures can plunge to −60°F, and winds can exceed 75 mph. Half the year, skies are black, making icebergs dangerous obstacles. Still, the Arctic is critical to U.S. commercial and homeland security interests. In 2009, President Obama issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, outlining the administration's Arctic Region Policy. The U.S. Coast Guard, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), plays a critical role in implementing this policy. Their mission includes securing international commerce, protecting the environment, defending America's maritime borders, and saving those in peril at sea or on other navigable waterways. Department of Homeland Security  


Joint Commission to Meet to Discuss Chukchi Polar Bears. Polar bears in thePolar Bear Eating Fish  Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast face an uncertain future because of climate warming. A U.S. and Russia commission aims to address short-term threats. The four-person commission, made up a federal and Native representatives from each country, will meet for three days in Moscow starting July 27 to discuss subsistence hunting and other issues for the polar bear population shared by the two countries in the waters north and just south of the Bering Strait. Fairbanks Daily News Miner 


'Ice Wars' Heating up in the Arctic. On a small, floating piece of ice in the Beaufort Sea, several hundred miles north of Alaska, a group of scientists are documenting what some dub an "Arctic meltdown." According to climate scientists, the warming of the region is shrinking the polar ice cap at an alarming rate, reducing the permafrost layer and wreaking havoc on polar bears, arctic foxes and other indigenous wildlife in the region. CNN 


Murkowski "Shines a Light" on Native Sex Trafficking. Senator Lisa Murkowski Murkowski Lisa today seized the opportunity of a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing to call attention to the "staggering" and "unacceptable" epidemic of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking among Alaska Natives and American Indians nationwide - and to get answers from federal officials about efforts underway to address the problems. "The statistics on violence and assault are staggering, and whether it's one in three or one in four, any act of violence is unacceptable," Murkowski said, opening the hearing. "I meet with far too many Alaskans who tell me things may be worse - there is so much whispered and silenced into the shadows, which damages not just the victims, but also their families." Senator Lisa Murkowski 


Begich Pleased by NOAA Status of Stocks Report. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, chairman of the Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today praised the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Alaska fishing industry upon the release the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) annual Status of the Stocks report. Once again, NOAA indicated that there is no overfishing on federally-managed stocks in Alaska. "In Alaska, we do fisheries management right" said Begich. "The men and women of the fishing industry work closely with their representatives on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to ensure that our fishery management is fair and is based on sound science.  When we do that, the result is both a robust seafood industry that employs thousands of Alaskans and healthy, sustainable marine ecosystems." Senator Mark Begich 


Begich Pushes Alaska Development with BOEMRE Officials. Continuing to begich push for oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today met with two officials from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). Begich met with BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich and Dr. James Kendall, the newly-installed BOEMRE Alaska Regional Director. "With all of the development potential on the horizon for Alaska, I was glad to get to meet Dr. Kendall and once again talk to Director Bromwich about the need to move forward on oil and gas exploration, particularly in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas," Begich said. "I take every chance I get to push Alaska's case and continue to believe we are making progress." Senator Mark Begich 


Alaska Senators Continue Fight Against "Frankenfish." U.S. Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski joined six other Senators in a letter to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today, warning the agency not to dismiss the clear congressional opinion opposing the approval of genetically modified salmon.  The agency is considering an application by Aqua Bounty, Inc. to grow genetically-engineered salmon in Panama for importation into the United States, with plans to eventually grow the fish in the U.S.   The genetically-altered fish would grow faster than natural fish and there are serious concerns about the impact of escaped fish on wild salmon stocks, the suitability of such fish for human consumption, and the FDA's approval process for the fish. Senator Mark Begich 


NOAA Ship Fairweather Sets Sail to Map Areas of the Arctic. NOAA Ship Fairweather, a 231-foot survey vessel, departed Kodiak, Alaska, on July 7, on a mission to conduct hydrographic surveys in remote areas of the Arctic where depths have not been measured since before the U.S. bought Alaska in 1867. NOAA will use the data to update nautical charts to help mariners safely navigate this  important but sparsely charted region, which is now seeing increased vessel traffic because of the significant loss of  Arctic sea ice. NOAA  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events                    


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 addresses 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 is 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. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011."Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hveragerđi, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different  perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


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.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of Arctic developed or developing regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The main focus of the meeting seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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. Details to follow.   


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)