US Arctic Research Commission
June 1, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider legislation to increase the debt limit and may consider a resolution on US operations in Libya. The House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations will mark up draft legislation.


The Senate is in recess this week, only holding pro forma sessions to prevent presidential recess appointments.


DOD Long-term Aviation and Shipbuilding Plans, today.The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services will hold a hearing to review the last 30 years of the Department of Defense's aviation and shipbuilding plans.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Obama to Name Former Utility Executive as Commerce Chief. President Obamapresident signing will nominate a noted utility executive, John Bryson, to be the next Commerce Secretary later Tuesday. If confirmed, Bryson would succeed Gary Locke, who Obama has named as the next U.S. ambassador to China. Bryson brings environmental bona fides to the job: in 1970, he was one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Government Executive


Blueberries' Effect on Cholesterol Examined in Lab Animal Study. Laboratory blueberrieshamsters that were fed rations spiked with blueberry peels and other blueberry-juice-processing leftovers had better cholesterol health than hamsters whose rations weren't enhanced with blueberries. That's according to a study led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Wallace H. Yokoyama. Science Daily


BoelmanGetting to the Tundra. Natalie Boelman, an ecosystem ecologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, writes from the North Slope of Alaska, where she is studying the effects of climate change on the interactions among plants, insects and migratory songbirds. I've been doing fieldwork in the foothills of the Brooks Mountain Range on the Alaska North Slope since 2001. This area is part of the tundra ecosystem, which is characterized by permanently frozen ground and the absence of trees. All of my work in this rather remote region has been based out of the Toolik Field Station. The purpose of most of my visits to Toolik has been to explore the use of remote sensing techniques to measure the response of tundra vegetation to climate change and, more recently, wildfire. New York Times


Warmer Investment Climate in Arctic Russia. The Russian State Duma is considering a number of legislative changes to encourage investment. The Vice Speaker of the Duma says Russia will make the changes to develop natural resource projects in the Russian Arctic. Barents Observer 


With Ship Traffic Rising, Coast Guard Considers Building an Arctic Presence. C130The nation's increasing interest in the Arctic led a Coast Guard admiral, several bureaucrats and a gaggle of journalists to Barrow Tuesday. They came aboard a Coast Guard Hercules C-130 that's specially equipped to play a role in analyzing climate change: inlet tubes on the aircraft allow equipment on board to measure greenhouse gases high above Alaska. With melting sea ice allowing increased access to the Arctic Ocean, a global race is on to unlock the region's potential, with countries such as Russia, China and the United States jockeying for position. Alaska Dispatch 


Rising Levels of Mercury in Arctic Reportedly Pose Risks. A recent report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), a working group of the Arctic Council, claims that rising levels of mercury in the Arctic region increasingly threaten human and animal populations. Updating a 2002 assessment, "Arctic Pollution 2011" is available on AMAP's Website. The report notes that mercury emissions have been steady since the 1990s, except in East Asia, where emissions have risen steadily. It cites studies that indicate a 10-fold increase in mercury in upper trophic-level marine animals (beluga, ringed seal, polar bear, and birds of prey) over the past 150 years. Lexology


House Panel Expected to Give Swift Approval to Defense Spending Bill. One of the fiscal 2012 spending bills appears likely to encounter relatively little opposition in the House. While partisan battles are shaping up over most domestic programs, the Defense appropriations bill could sail through a subcommittee markup Wednesday without any significant challenge. The Defense Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to approve a draft measure that would provide the Pentagon with less money than President Obama requested for military operations other than for wars, but more than was appropriated for the current fiscal year. Congressional Quarterly


Republicans to Try to Block Commerce Nominee in Push for Trade Pacts. Senate Republicans reiterated Tuesday that they will block all trade-related executive branch nominees, including President Obama's new choice for Commerce secretary, until the administration sends three trade agreements to the Senate for approval. Congressional Quarterly

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


 No legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events     


6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 3, 2011. The International Conference on Arctic Margins was founded by the Department of Interior and what was formerly called the Minerals Management Service. 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.


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14, 2011. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy. The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute,

Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a domestic investment and policy forum titled "The Arctic Imperative." The forum, at the Alyeska Resort in the Chugach Mountains, near Anchorage, will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics such as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade. The goal of the gathering is to "sharpen the world's focus on the policy and investment needs of Arctic development through a series of high-level meetings, presentations and investor roundtables." Confirmed speakers include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the USARC; Edward Itta, Mayor of the North Slope Borough; Thomas Barrett, President of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Mead Treadwell, Lt. Gov. of the State of Alaska; David Rubenstein, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislator; among others.


Dr. Lubchenco, NOAA

4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval andMaritime Operations, June 20-22, 2011 (downtown DC). The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice on a wide range of maritime operations. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The forum is a key opportunity to learn about changes in the Arctic environment, and the manner in which they are being responded to in terms of policies and practices. Registration is now open.



7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011Akureyri 

The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The  Intl'

Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every 3 years.   


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.


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 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The conference seaduckis held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


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 

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


Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society and the regional government of Arkhangelsk, 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 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 event 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.

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