US Arctic Research Commission
May 24, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will resume consideration of legislation to reauthorize the Patriot Act.The House and Senate will hold a joint session of Congress for an address by Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu.The House will begin consideration of the 2012 defense authorization.


International Oil Spill Conference, May 23-26, 2011. This conference's theme of "Promoting the Science of Spill Response" continues the long tradition of providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and lessons learned from actual spill responses and research around the world. This conference will also continue the North American part of the Triennial Oil Spill Conference Cycle established in 2005, to be followed by Interspill 2012 (Europe) and Spillcon 2013 (SE Asia), before returning to North America in 2014. The Arctic focus will be on May 25th.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate GOP Faces Tricky Budget Vote. The Senate vote this week on the budget blueprint of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be a gut-check moment for Republicans, who risk angering constituents no matter what they do. After seeing GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich get pummeled for calling the House Budget chairman's plan to overhaul Medicare "right-wing social engineering," Republicans have begun to realize that opposing Ryan does not come without a cost from the party's base. Roll Call


Gulf Currents Primed Bacteria to Degrade oil Spill. A new computer model of the Gulf of Mexico in the period after the 2010 oil spill provides insights into how underwater currents may have primed marine microorganisms to degrade the oil. Science Daily


Murkowski: America "Waking Up" to the Fact We're an Arctic Nation. U.S. Sen. MurkowskiLisa Murkowski today took to the Senate floor and stressed to her colleagues the importance of the Arctic, and how the national political conversation should reflect the realities and possibilities that come along with that.  "I am pleased that ever so slowly, the United States seems to be waking up to the fact that we are, indeed, an Arctic nation," Sen. Murkowski said.  Sen. Murkowski returned earlier this month from a historic trip to Nuuk, Greenland where she participated in the 7th Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council - the first ever to be attended by a member of Congress and Secretary of State.  Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and Sen. Murkowski met with foreign ministers from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and representatives of indigenous groups to discuss a variety of Arctic issues. Senator Lisa Murkowski


House Bill Seeks to Force Administration's Hand on US-Canada Pipeline. Bipartisan legislation unveiled in the House on Monday would require the Obama administration to issue a final decision on a disputed multibillion-dollar pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries. The bill, offered by Nebraska Republican Lee Terry, would give President Obama until Nov. 1 to grant or deny TransCanada's Keystone XL project, a 1,600-mile pipeline that would transport as many as 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries in the Midwest and Texas. Congressional Quarterly


Iceland Ash Cloud Closes Greenland Airspace. Danish air traffic officials say an Icelandic ash cloud has partly closed airspace over Greenland, affecting flights between Copenhagen and the Arctic island's main airport. Naviair says ash from the Grimsvotn volcano on Sunday reached eastern Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory. Business Week 


Nunavut Arctic College Revamps Guide Training Curriculum. Nunavut Arctic College is updating its guide training curriculum because it's outdated and the college wants to attract more Nunavummiut to the field. "GPS wasn't invented, there is a necessity for wilderness first aid and something more relevant for the North," said wilderness consultant Wes Werbowy of the old program. Northern News Service


North Slope Schools Add Native Perspective to Curriculum. Inspired by the film production "ASRC History," the North Slope Borough School District joined ASRC in an effort to compile a high school social studies and language arts unit titled, "ASRC-tkut Quliaqtuaŋat." This instructional unit was adopted by the NSBSD Board of Education at their meeting on May 5, said a press release from the borough school district. "We support life-long learning and are very pleased to help prepare this curriculum for North Slope students," said Rex Rock, Sr., President and CEO of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. "It's vital for the next generation to understand where we come from both culturally and in the business world." Alaska Dispatch 


Before you Die, Get Healthy, Alaska. Every time there is a foot race like the Heart Run with 6,000 people, or a triathlon with hundreds of women entered, the masses in Anchorage seem to indicate that they are as health conscious as Dr. Oz. Maybe those people are. However, it seems that the rest of Alaskans who aren't out jogging, walking, bicycling, climbing Mount McKinley or doing the backstroke in the Arctic Ocean, are living in the 1950s because they are still smoking cigarettes, drinking after work, with dinner, and before bedtime. And don't ask what they're doing at bedtime besides sleeping. The Arctic Sounder  


Indigenous Genomics [Editorial]. STUDIES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE A CRUCIAL PART OF GENOMIC RESEARCH, NOT ONLY TO DEFINE the extent of human diversity but to provide medical benefi t to all people. There are more than 370 million indigenous people living in almost half the countries of the world. Exploding interest in indigenous genomics and global population structure has raised debate about issues of informed consent and community benefit. Science 


High Hopes for Bering Strait Ice Breaker. Sam VanLaningham can't wait to take sikuliaq2the Sikuliaq for a spin. When it's ready for science operations in 2014, the 261-foot research vessel will be capable of drilling Bering Strait seafloor cores in any season. VanLaningham hopes those cores will uncover mysteries about the history of climate change in Alaska. Alaska Dispatch 


Russian Arctic Guide Book to be Issued Soon. Guide book for Frantz Joseph Land Archipelago will be issued by the end of 2012. Frantz Joseph Land, part of nature reserve Russian Arctic, is one of northmost lands in Russia and in the world. It attracts tourists with its fauna: polar bears, birds and sea mammals. Russia Info Center


Presentations and Poster. SINTEF posted presentations and posts from their April 7 SINTEFand 8, 2011, conference on oil spill response.  Several presentations of interest include:  BP's Dr. Arden Ahnell, discussing the Deep Water Horizon incident; NOAA's Amy MacFadyen, discussing the challenges, developments, and perceptions of emergency response in ice-covered waters; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation's Joe LoSciuto discussing how an Alaska Native-owned corporation (ASRC Energy Services, and specifically AES Response Operations, 80 personnel) is providing spill response services to Alaska's offshore developers; ITOPF's Henk Renken discussing shipping incidents. SINTEF

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No article related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events     


6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May31-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. 


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S.

Dr. Clemente-Colon

National Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover 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., and the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp. The forum, largely organized by  NIC Chief Scientist Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies. 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 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 

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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