US Arctic Research Commission
May 3, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider legislation to repeal funding for two programs established as part of the health care overhaul bill. The Senate is expected to consider a resolution to commend U.S. forces and the intelligence community for the death of Osama bin Laden. Additionally, Senator John Ensign of Nevada will officially step down and be replaced by Congressman Dean Heller.


"Managing Risks in Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas," today.  The University of Alaska Anchorage hosts a panel discussion to consider concerns in managing oil and gas risks in the Arctic.  Panelists include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission; Karlene Roberts of the Center for Catastrophic Rish Management; Catherine Foerster of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; and Jeffery Loman of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement.  

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


'Critical Minerals' Bill Has Support, But Democrats Wary of Permit Changes. Despite broad agreement with the aims of a Republican draft bill designed to jump-start domestic production of "critical" minerals, Senate Democrats are withholding support over concerns about a provision to explore ways to expedite mining approvals. "In its current form, we're not there yet," said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. The draft circulated by the panel's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, would direct the U.S. Geological Survey to compile a list of minerals designated as critical to the U.S. economy and would set out policies to assure a stable domestic supply. Congressional Quarterly


canadian flagCanadian Election Results a Boost for Arctic Sovereignty and Offshore Oil. The Conservatives won a majority in the Canadian government which will allow Prime Minster Stephen Harper to more actively pursue his party's Northern Strategy.  Barents Observer


Shell's 'Hearts and Minds' Strategy for Alaska Arctic Offshore Drilling. Royal Dutch Shell believes there's enough oil underneath Alaska's Arctic waters to fuel 25 million cars for 35 years, according to a proposal expected to be pitched to the federal government this week. The numbers are significant. But what if the Obama administration isn't interested in fueling millions of cars for another quarter-century? For whom do the Feds regulate? Alaska Dispatch


MDA Launches Ice Monitoring Service to Support Safe Ship Navigation. MDA's Information Systems Group (MDA), announced today that its Geospatial Services division is launching an ice monitoring service to support safe ship navigation in the Arctic. MDA will use RADARSAT-1 and -2 satellites' superior ice detection and classification capabilities to produce ice information products that can be rapidly delivered in a variety of standard formats. MDA will deliver the products electronically to ships and operation centres, through either direct transmission or via a web portal. Customer-specific products can also be developed upon request. GIS User


Shell to Submit New Arctic Offshore Drilling Plan. Shell Oil will apply to drill 10offshore oil wells off Alaska's Arctic shore over the next two years under exploration plans headed to federal authorities. The company hopes to see results from a $3.5 billion investment into Arctic Ocean drilling that has been thwarted in recent years by court challenges or inability to obtain federal permits. "Maybe four times is a charm," said Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska vice president, on Monday. "This is our fourth Beaufort Sea exploration plan that has gone down the pike. And next week it will be the second Chukchi exploration plan. We feel that we've got pretty good and robust plans." Associated Press


Northern Canada GlaciersMelting FasterThan in Alaska. The glaciers and ice fields of Canada's far-north islands have lost enough water over the last few summers to fill three-quarters of Illiamna Lake, Alaska's largest. This news comes just a few years after typical melting from the same region would have only filled one quarter of the same lake each year. "It was a massive increase between these two periods (2004 to 2006 and the record warmth of 2007 to 2009)," said glaciologist Gabriel Wolken, coauthor of a new paper in which scientists claim that glacial ice of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago contributes more to sea-level rise than any regional group of ice outside Greenland or Antarctica. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner   


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events     


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution (pdf), 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.  


Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, May 12.  The Arctic Council will host this meeting in Nuuk, Greenland. The meeting will consider "The Changing Arctic: Challenges and Opportunities for the Arctic Council;" the Nuuk Declaration; the Arctic Council Search and Rescue Agreement; and hand over chairmanship to Sweden. Secretary Hillary Clinton will lead the US delegation. 


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. 

6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-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. 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. 


Alice Rogoff, Alaska Dispatch Publisher

The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21.  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. Registration is $2500 for out-of-state participants (includes registration, meals, tax, ground transfers & lodging), and $900 for in-state (includes registration & meals). Speakers are free. Media registration and meals are free.


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. icediminisharcticNational 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. The forum, the fourth in a series, 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.   



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.    


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


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. 


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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