US Arctic Research Commission
June 20, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider the nomination of Leon Panetta to be the Secretary of Defense.  The House will hold a pro forma session today. 


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. 

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


The Week at a Glance: June 20-24, 2011. This week, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Leon Panetta to be Secretary of Defense, a motion to end debate on the Economic Development Reauthorization Act, and to end debate on a bill to eliminate Senate confirmation of some executive branch appointments.  The House will consider patent law reform and may consider the FY 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations bill by the end of the week. Congressional Quarterly


Arctic Snow Can Harbor Deadly Assassins: Killer Fungal Strains. Heavy and prolonged snowfall can bring about unexpected conditions that encourage fungal growth, leading to the death of plants in the Arctic, according to experts. Science Daily 


Icelandic President at Arctic Shipping Conference. President Olafur Ragnar Iceland President OlafurGrimsson of Iceland is currently in Alaska to give a speech at the opening of an international conference. The conference is on the importance of careful planning for future shipping lanes slowly being created by melting Arctic ice. The conference is being attended by international affairs and business experts, as well as Alaska officials and many scientists and other interested parties. "Special emphasis will be placed on discussing the need for regulation and international treaties on these shipping routes, responses to likely pollution and environmental accidents, the construction of port facilities and the development of service infrastructure for container shipping. Energy issues, resource use and improved co-operation in the fields of safety and search & rescue will also be discussed," conference literature states. Ice News 


World's Oceans in 'Shocking' Decline. The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. These "accelerated" changes include melting of Arctic sea ice and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise, and release of methane trapped in the sea bed. BBC News


State Senate Seeks Special Session: COASTAL ZONE: Plan for local management control lapses June 30. The Alaska Senate is calling for a special session to keep the state's coastal zone management program from dissolving on June 30. But it's not clear whether the House will go along. The state's coastal zone management program expires June 30 if nothing is done. Program supporters say it's needed to influence federal development decisions and provide local input. They say losing it could have consequences like preventing federal approval of a potential Arctic deepwater drilling port, and that state would also lose federal grant funds. Anchorage Daily News


Snow DragonIn Barrow, Waiting for the Arctic Boom. There are no ships in sight, but the Coast Guard believes they are coming. The trend lines show a steady increase in Arctic shipping traffic. A region that once witnessed only a few dozen vessels arriving for the brief summer now sees more than 100, and the number is steadily growing. Some in the agency fear what might happen if - as some scientists predicted-- Arctic sea lanes begin to open to shipping in the decade just ahead. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Imperative Summit Convenes Arctic Experts and Policymakers. Global leaders, Arctic research experts, industry executives, and representatives from Arctic communities will convene in Girdwood next week for the Arctic Imperative Summit, said a press release from the lieutenant governor's office.  The three-day summit is the first of its kind in Alaska and will address new responsibilities and opportunities created by a changing Arctic region. Topics will include science, research, and resource development, emerging industry and infrastructure needs, cultural preservation, and international affairs. Arctic Sounder


Nomination Sent to the Senate. Last week, the President officially nominated John Edgar Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce and replace Gary Locke. The White House


NOAA Seeks Public Comments on Scientific Integrity Policy NOAA's draft scientific integrity policy is available for public review and comment until Aug. 15, 2011. The policy incorporates the principles of scientific integrity contained in guidance from the White House, and addresses how NOAA ensures quality science in its practices and policies and promotes a culture of transparency, integrity and ethicalNOAA behavior. NOAA 


How is NOAA Managing Funds to Protect Domestic Fishing? Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service, testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.  Mr. Schwaab testified on NOAA's actions to improve its enforcement program and how NOAA is managing funds to support the domestic fishing industry. NOAA 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.


Future Events                  



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. 


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.


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.  






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