US Arctic Research Commission
June 16, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will continue to consider a reauthorization of economic development programs. The House will continue to consider Department of Agriculture funding. 


Meetings of State Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law

Dark green: ratified. Light green signed. Gray: did not sign

of the Sea, June 13-17, 2011. The State Parties to UNCOLS will host  their 21st meeting in New York to host elections, review information submitted to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, hear a report from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and review a report on issues of a general nature, relevant to State parties, that have arisen with respect to the United Nations

Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Permits, June 15-17. The Environmental Protection Agency will hold meetings in Barrow (June 16-17) to consider air permit applications for exploratory oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as well new water permits for activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to replace the expiring Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration NPDES General Permit.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Diplomatic Corps Descending on Alaska for American Fieldtrip. What defines the American experience? Diplomats and international policy makers want to know -- and when asked to choose where in the states they'd like to observe Americana firsthand, they chose the Last Frontier. The "Experience America" trip, sponsored by the U.S. State Department is at hand. Next week, while Alaska Dispatch is hosting the Arctic Imperative Summit in Girdwood, ambassadors will be touring the 49th state from Anchorage up to the North Slope and Barrow, then back down to Seward and Resurrection Bay, according to a press release. "By sharing Alaska's story with these distinguished diplomats, we are fostering international goodwill, laying the foundation for new and productive international partnerships and strengthening America's relationship with countries all around the globe," said Capricia Marshall, a State Department official. Alaska Dispatch 


How a female scientist tries to tame belugas in the freezing Arctic. beluga

Braving sub-zero temperatures, she has thrown caution - and her clothes - to the wind to tame two beluga whales in a unique and controversial experiment. Natalia Avseenko, 36, was persuaded to strip naked as marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits. The skilled Russian diver took the plunge as the water temperature hit minus 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Daily Mail


What Will Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Mean for Barrier Islands? Stutz's analysis found a rising sea level in the last 5,000 years is associated with the greatest barrier island abundance, especially in the North Atlantic and Arctic. Stable or falling sea level, meanwhile, a pattern more typical of the Southern Hemisphere in the last 5,000 years, has produced fewer islands and a higher percentage of islands along river deltas. However, extremely rapid sea level rise -- especially when coupled with decreases in sediment supply -- can simply inundate islands causing them to break up and disappear. Islands are eroding rapidly along the Mississippi Delta, Eastern Canada and the Arctic for these reasons. Science Daily


Eavesdropping on Arctic Birds.  New York Times science blog features Natalie Boelman, an ecosystem ecologist from Columbia University who is writing from the North Slope of Alaska.  Recently, Ms. Boelman detailed the North Slope songbirds, their communication, and their mating patterns. New York Times


Polar Bears: On thin ice. In August 1881 the naturalist John Muir was sailing off Alaska aboard the steamer Thomas Corwin, searching for three vessels that had gone missing in the Arctic. Off Point Barrow he spotted three polar bears, "magnificent fellows, fat and hearty, rejoicing in their strength out here in the bosom of the icy wilderness." Were Muir to sail off Point Barrow in August today, any polar bears he'd see would not be living in a wilderness of ice but swimming through open water, burning precious fat reserves. That's because the bears' sea-ice habitat is disappearing. And it's going fast. National Geographic 


House is Reviving 'Open Rules' for a Debate. The House considered its first bill under a "open rule" since the summer of 2007, when members argued openly and at length over agricultural appropriations. Under an open rule, any House member can offer an amendment to the underlying bill - in this case an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security - as long as those amendments are relevant to the bill, and brought up at the exact moment that the section of the bill they are amending is brought to the floor. In theory, each amendment is permitted five minutes of debate, but through a parliamentary trick in which a member can strike the last word of his or her statement at the five-minute mark, the debate can actually be extended endlessly. Other bills, especially appropriation bills, may be considered under an open rule to encourage budget cutting. New York Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 295, To amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 to authorize funds to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineating the United States extended continental shelf, and the monitoring and description of coastal changes. (Young, ordered to be reported to the House floor by unanimous consent)


H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations act (Kingston, considered by the House)


S. 782, Economic Development Revitalization Act (Boxer, considered by the Senate)


S. 1201, National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (Lieberman, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                 


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

Fran Ulmer

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 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.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval NIC_logo

and Maritime Operations, June 20-22, 2011 (downtown DC).  The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research 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.


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 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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The seaduckconference is 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 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 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.

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