US Arctic Research Commission
June 21, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will vote on the nomination of Leon Panetta to be the Secretary of Defense.The Senate will then vote to end debate on the reauthorization of economic development programs.The House will consider several measures under suspension of the rules.


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. See NOAA story, on front page of ADN, below...

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Did Climate Change Cause Greenland's Ancient Viking Community to Collapse? Our changing climate usually appears to be a very modern problem, yet new research from Greenland published in Boreas, suggests that the AD 1350 collapse of a centuries old colony established by Viking settlers may have been caused by declining temperatures and a rise in sea-ice. The authors suggest the collapse of the Greenland Norse presents a historical example of a society which failed to adapt to climate change. Science Daily 


Satellite Produces Map of Arctic Ice Thickness: Map shows Arctic ice thickness this past winter. The first map of sea-ice thickness produced by the European Space Agency's CryoSat satellite was revealed today at the Air and Space Show in Paris. CryoSat spent the past seven months looking down at the earth's surface from an altitude of about 700 kilometres to deliver its measurements on the thickness of Arctic ice. To gauge the ice thickness, CryoSat measured the height of the sea ice above the water line. Nunatsiaq News 


NASA Sets Sail on Second Leg of Arctic Ocean Research Voyage. Scientists embark this week from Alaska on the second and final part of a NASA field campaign to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. The Sacramento Bee 


Indigenous Knowledge Moves Forward at Arctic Imperative Summit. An international gathering of policy makers, ambassadors and CEOs discussed the future of the melting Arctic at a summit on Monday, and many of them stressed the need for indigenous input before any development occurs. Members of the illustrious lineup often voiced support for traditional knowledge, with some saying it has important scientific value. The Arctic Sounder 


NOAA Swamped with Requests for Arctic Information: 'A HUGE DISCONNECT': Weather forecasting among the services that fall short. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being inundated with requNOAAests for weather and ice forecasts as well as navigation information about the Arctic, but isn't able to provide all of the information that the Coast Guard, industries and Alaska Natives need, NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco said on Monday.  The NOAA chief, the commandant of the Coast Guard and the chief of naval operations spoke at a symposium about challenges ahead for the U.S. as summer Arctic sea ice declines, opening the Arctic to oil and gas extraction, fisheries, tourism and shipping. Anchorage Daily News


Alaska House Rejects Special Session on Coastal Management: POLL: Senate offers some compromise but that's not enough to meet on issue. Speaker Mike Chenault said Monday that he polled the state House and there's not enough support for a special session to keep the coastal zone management program alive for another year. Chenault said he is willing to talk it over with Senate leaders a final time on Tuesday to try to salvage the program before it's due to expire at midnight on June 30. Anchorage Daily News  


Trapped in the Realm of Ideas. Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity was the word uttered over and over again as international leaders, global financiers, national dignitaries, state officials and small-town Alaskans met here to discuss the economic and social future of Alaska's Arctic and near-Arctic north. Everyone attending The Arctic Imperative Summit seemed to agree on the opportunity for oil and gas, the opportunity for rare-earth minerals, the opportunity for new shipping, the opportunity for jobs, the opportunity for almost everything. David Rubenstein, co-founder of a $107 billion global asset management company called the Carlyle Group -- and the husband of Alaska Dispatch publisher Alice Rogoff -- on Monday described the entire Arctic region as "the last (and final) emerging market." Alaska Dispatch 


Should Alaska Create a Fund to Attract Investors to Develop the Arctic? The state is positioning itself to be the banker as well as the builder of Arctic projects in the hope of attracting more private investment to the region. And that could be the catalyst to jumpstart broad development in the Arctic -- beyond just oil and gas operations. Investment experts speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit portrayed the region as an "emerging market" that will need some sort of established investment fund to lead the way and then entice skittish private investors to follow. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority -- a state development agency that tries to ignite economic growth through financing sometimes risky projects -- could be that entity, if political leaders decide to put significant amounts of cash in the agency's bank account. Alaska Dispatch 


Iceland's President Warns Alaska on Economic Collapse.  When towering financial institutions fail, an economy that can fall back on fish, energy, clean water and the human need for wild places will survive. That's what Iceland learned in the wake of its dramatic 2008 economic collapse, the country's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson told leaders in Anchorage on Monday. Alaska should take note, he said. KTUU


Polar Bear Eating FishDiffering Diets Make Polar Bears More Vulnerable to Ice Loss.  Polar bears that rely on fewer prey animals to fill their bellies may be more vulnerable to starvation and stress as climate change ravages the extent of their summer ice hunting platform across the Arctic, according to a profile posted online about a longtime Canadian bear researcher. Over the past 30 years, Dalhousie University biologist Sarah Iverson has been part of an effort that collected fat samples from polar bears throughout the Canadian Arctic, producing a remarkable catalog of what bears eat for dinner and how that diet varies from population to population. Alaska Dispatch 


Inuit Education Strategy Launched. Mobilizing parents, increasing the number of bilingual teachers and programs and expanding early-education programs are three of the 10 recommendations in a strategy aimed at improving Inuit education.  First Canadians, Canadians First: The National Strategy on Inuit Education was unveiled in Ottawa on June 16 by the National Committee on Inuit Education, made up of representatives from the federal, provincial, territorial and regional governments, school boards as well as regional and national Inuit organizations. Northern News Services ONLINE 


On the Cutting Edge of Arctic Research. Aquatic ecosystem health in the Upland Lakes, wind energy feasibility in Sachs Harbour and the development of native seed banks - this is what Jolie Gareis loves about her job. As manager of the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik, Gareis gets to stay on the cutting edge of Arctic research. Northern News Service ONLINE


Arctic Oil Spiloil spill in open oceanl Would Challenge Coast Guard. A major offshore Arctic oil spill could severely challenge the Coast Guard, with no infrastructure available to base rescue and clean-up operations, the Coast Guard commandant said on Monday. Reuters

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


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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