US Arctic Research Commission
March 7, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider patent law reform and judicial nominations.  The House is in recess.


 Media Reviewtodaysevents  


The Week Ahead: Shutdown, the sequel. Debate over the budget will continue this capitalweek as both sides work to strike a deal and the Senate holds test votes to see where lawmakers stand. The temporary resolution funding the government will expire March 18, and if another continuing resolution is not passed by then, the government will shut down. The Hill


Senate to Vote on Competing CRs. The Senate will vote next week on competing Republican and Democratic spending plans for the rest of the year, aides said. A meeting with Congressional leaders and Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday ended without a breakthrough, with the two sides about $50 billion apart. The vote, like an earlier vote on health care repeal, is expected to show that cuts on the scale Republicans are demanding cannot get through the Senate. But it remains unclear what the next move would be to avoid a government shutdown in two weeks. If no deal is reached, Republicans have suggested they might pass another short-term bill with additional cuts. Roll Call


House, Senate Also Mulling Fiscal 2012 Budget. While most of the focus on Capitol Hill this week will be on the battle over current spending, a wide range of other budget-related action will be occurring in Congress. House and Senate committees will continue dozens of hearings on budget and spending plans for fiscal 2012, including those by the House and Senate Budget panels as they prepare to assemble an annual budget resolution in coming weeks. In the House, where Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP leaders have said they intend to prepare a budget that targets entitlements in order to aggressively address growing debts and deficits, the Budget Committee on Thursday will hold a hearing on relieving the debt burden facing the nation. Congressional Quarterly


Sea-Ice Algae Can Engineer Ice to Its Advantage Using Own Antifreeze. Sea-ice algae -- the important first rung of the food web each spring in places like the Arctic Ocean -- can engineer ice to its advantage, according to the first published findings about this ability. Science Daily


Expert: Hold Inquiry into Igloolik Infant Deaths: "There should be a public inquiry into the deaths of these kids." If two babies had died within two weeks of each other in any town in southern Canada with a population like Igloolik's, there would be a public inquiry, a Canadian expert on children's lung infections in the Arctic, said this past week. "There should be a public inquiry into the deaths of these kids," Dr. Anna Banerji, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. But last week, Nunavut's public health department admitted that RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, has been detected recently in Nunavut communities, along with H1N1 and H3N2 flu strains. RSV is a virus that causes life-threatening lung infections in vulnerable children. "RSV is still a big problem in the Arctic," Banerji said. NANATSIQ ONLINE


Arctic's Spring Phytoplankton Arrive Earlier. Since 1997, the peak of the phytoplankton bloom has been moving up. When summer comes to the Arctic, the tiny plants that feed the ocean's food chain form green blooms in the water. In some Arctic waters, the peak of this bloom has been arriving earlier every year since 1997, a study has found. These areas, where peak bloom time is creeping up, are roughly the same as those with decreasing sea ice in June, according to the researchers. MSNBC


sea bird/plasticResearchers Find More Plastic in the Guts of Arctic Seabirds. When biologist Jennifer Provencher headed to the Arctic, she signed on to help assess how seabird diets are changing as temperatures climb in the North. She never expected to find plastics on the menu. But she and her colleagues at the Canadian Wildlife Service are pulling remarkable amounts of trash from birds in some of the remotest spots on Earth. Vancouver Sun


Spill Analysis Planned for Offshore Leases: ARCTIC: Shell Oil says the court-ordered study could delay drilling, affect jobs. Federal officials will study how a "very large oil spill" would affect the ocean off Alaska's northwest coast as part of a court-ordered environmental review for a 2008 offshore petroleum lease sale that garnered billions of dollars for federal coffers. The decision by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement could further delay company drilling plans and potentially affect thousands of jobs, future energy security and the economic stimulus that would result from offshore development, said Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Shell Oil, the major lease holder in the Chukchi Sea. Anchorage Daily News


Wildlife Research Unit Leader Named. Veteran researcher Brad Griffith has been named leader of the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. The unit is part of a nationwide cooperative program within the U.S. Geological Survey and Department of the Interior to promote research and graduate student training in ecology and management of fish and wildlife. Fairbanks Daily News Miner


House Climate Science Showdown Set. A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will wade into climate science Tuesday against the backdrop of accelerating GOP efforts to scuttle Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases. The committee released details Friday of the March 8 Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on climate science and EPA rules, a session that committee Democrats requested. The Hill


Climate Change Puts Health of Arctic Villagers on Thin Ice. Climate change hits Arctic villages first, creating new threats for water sanitation, finding food and safely preserving it, physical injury and mental health. "Conditions up north, especially around the Arctic region...subsistence users are more affected than any other race, because we're in the cold climate where ice is melting at a disturbing pace," Sylvester Ayek, I˝upiaq elder, wood-carving artist, hunter and subsistence user told Indian Country Today Media Network. Indian Country Today


Polar bearOil Industry Fights USA Over Polar Bears. There's plenty of polar bears up north, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association says in challenging the Secretary of the Interior's protection of habitat for North America's largest land mammal. The trade group claims the habitat protection is "arbitrary and capricious" because more than 20,000 polar bears still live in their "entire historical range." The trade group claims the Interior Secretary's designation of critical habitat for the big bears, under the Endangered Species Act, violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Courthouse News Service 


National Ocean Observing System to See Marine Animal Migration, Adaption Strategies. For the first time, data from electronic tags attached to marine animals will be incorporated into the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS«). The addition of this biological component will help scientists better understand how marine animals move with the flow of tides and currents and provide insight into how they may alter their behavior or migration patterns in response to climate change. NOAA


Bountiful Alaska Salmon Harvest Forecast for 2011. The 2011 Alaska commercial salmon harvest is forecast to be one of the largest since statehood -- but that doesn't mean prices will be coming down any time soon, a state fish and game official said on Sunday. Reuters 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R.1 : Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

(Rep Rogers - motion to proceed to measure withdrawn in Senate)

Future Eventsfutureevents    


HOUSE: Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations, March 8.  The Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled "Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations."


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Budget: BIA and Special Trustee for American Indians, March 8. The Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Appropriations: State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, March 9.The State Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold hearings on proposed fiscal 2012 appropriations for departments, agencies, and programs under its jurisdiction.


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization: Navy Shipbuilding Programs, March 9.The Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the budget request for Navy shipbuilding acquisition programs.


HOUSE: Global Challenges to Military Readiness, March 10.The Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing titled "Global Challenges to Readiness."


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Budget: NOAA and EPA R&D Programs, March 10.The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on fiscal 2012 budget request for research and development programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and EPA. 


HOUSE: Fiscal 2012 Budget: NSF and NIST, March 11.The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on fiscal 2012 budget request for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact


Arctic Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bod° University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, and share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.


Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.  


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks. The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. 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. More information email.  


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. 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 forum titled "The Arctic Imperative: Think of the Bering Strait as the Next Panama Canal."  The forum will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics just as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade.


7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011myvatnThe 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
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. The conference 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.   


Operating in the Arctic: Supporting the US Coast Guard Challenges Through Research, Sept. 21-23, 2010. This workshop, held at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Arctic Research Commission, explored and identified ways in which scientific research and development can improve the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate and carry out its statutory missions in the Arctic region. Participation in this event included state, local and international stakeholders, academics and researchers, and USCG and other federal agency officials. A funding opportunity associated with this activity is described here.


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference permafrostwill be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.   

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