US Arctic Research Commission
July 5, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a measure to authorize military actions in Libya. The House will hold a pro forma session.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Warming Ocean Layers Will Undermine Polar Ice Sheets, Climate Models Show. Warming of the ocean's subsurface layers will melt underwater portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets faster than previously thought, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Such melting would increase the sea level more than already projected. Science Daily


House Panel Rips Coast Guard for Red Tape (and asks, "Where's the high latitude study?"). Congressional patience with the Coast Guard's bureaucracy is wearing thin. Lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the service's inability to provide up-to-date budget and fleet plans and mission studies, and are seeking to compel the completion of a plan to recapitalize the aged icebreaker fleet. Navy Times.


Alaska's Lt. Gov. Focuses on Research, Arctic, Oil. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell Treadwellis helping lead an effort aimed at conducting "game-changing" research capable of putting Alaska on more solid economic footing. "The fact is rental vacancies are low; the state budget is flush right now. But we're at a precipice," he said in an interview from his Anchorage office. Not only must the state work on boosting oil production - which has been Alaska's economic lifeblood for decades - but he said it also must "bring research to bear to see what can be done to help make all of the rests of our economic activity more productive, and what can be done to help solve social, environmental health problems and help preserve culture." Anchorage Daily News


Report: Shipping Emissions to Rise in Arctic. Climate change in the Arctic is not likely to spark an immediate boom in oil and gas exploration, according to a new study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. But it will increase shipping there, and shipping-related emissions of greenhouse gases will intensify in the region. The article, by researchers at the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environment Research (CICERO), Det Norske Veritas and Statistics Norway, predicts that while ship exhaust will not rise significantly globally, it will in the Arctic. In particular, the study says, there will be "a considerable change in the location of emissions" as fishing boats proliferate along the coast and some shipping vessels move through. Washington Post


Military Plans a Show of Force in High Arctic. With Canada's combat mission in defense spendingAfghanistan winding down, the military is preparing a greater show of force in the High Arctic just as Russia is expanding its own presence in the region. While in Kandahar this weekend to mark the end of Canadian troops' military mission in Central Asia, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said this summer's installment of an annual military exercise in the Arctic will be the largest such operation in recent history. The Globe and Mail


Arctic Resource Wealth Poses Dilemma For Indigenous Communities. Oil and mineral deals mean money and jobs, but Inuit leaders are concerned aboutAK Native family drawing the lack of a national debate on industrialization and what it means for the traditional way of life. "I certainly have seen the benefits that can come from [oil] royalties. Schools are better. There are swimming pools, gymnasium, cars - and jobs - all the result of billions of dollars." Patricia Cochran, a former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council from Alaska, expresses the view of many indigenous people on industrial development in the Arctic. Vast oil and mineral wealth have brought huge benefits to some communities. The Guardian


Senators Introduce Bill to Secure NOAA Presence in Ketchikan. U.S. Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill late Thursday which would help ensure the long term presence of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Ketchikan. The bill would authorize NOAA to sell the port facility it currently owns at 1010 Stedman Street, which used to be a Tesoro fuel dock, and utilize the proceeds of the sale toward a new facility located elsewhere in Ketchikan. Political News


New Associate Vice Chancellor at UAF. Nettie La Belle-Hamer is a new associate vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Mark Myers, the campus' vice chancellor for research, said last week. La Belle will also direct the Office of Research Integrity and is now one of three associate vice chancellors of research under Myers, with John Blake and Dan White. La Belle-Hamer also directs the Alaska Satellite Facility and will hold a "50 percent appointment in both directorship positions, which means that there is quite a bit of work to do," Myers said in a statement. La Belle-Hamer, who replaces Blake as vice chancellor, had studied and worked at the university's Geophysical Institute for two decades and her first major project in her new position will be a research project on Arctic oil spills. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No 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.


Alaska Northern Waters Task Force (ANWTF), July 6-9, 2011. In 2010, the Alaska State Legislature passed a resolution creating the ANWTF.  The ANWTF is in the process of drafting a report to the Legislature to prepare the Legislature to be an active participant in a developing federal and international commission on changing ocean patterns.  Several hearings are taking place across the state.  The July 6-9 hearing will be in Kotzebue and Nome. 


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


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 Hverager