US Arctic Research Commission
May 5, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will meet to consider offshore oil and gas leasing. Implementation of the Oil Spill Commission report recommendations will be discussed. The Senate will meet. The small business research bill the Senate considered all week, however, is no longer on the agenda.


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.  


Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Markup, today.  The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will mark up pending legislation and consider nominations including: S. 275, the Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act; S. 52, the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act; and Scott Doney to be chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Science and Technology Policy, today. The American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a conference titled "Forum on Science and Technology Policy."


Chinese Imports of Canadian Oil, today. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion titled "Canada Crude to China? Prospects and Barriers of Increasing Chinese Imports of Canadian Oil."

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Effects of Climate Change in Arctic More Extensive Than Expected, Report Finds. A much reduced covering of snow, shorter winter season and thawing tundra: the effects of climate change in the Arctic are already here. And the changes are taking place significantly faster than previously thought. This is what emerges from a new research report on the Arctic presented in Copenhagen this week. Margareta Johansson, from Lund University, is one of the researchers behind the report. Science Daily 


House Democrats to Start Unveiling Energy Agenda. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will unveil an energy legislation package Thursday morning, one day after House Republicans launched their own task force to stay ahead of the issue. The California Democrat will introduce a bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Bishop (N.Y.) as the first part of House Democrats' energy agenda, according to a Pelosi aide. Bishop's bill would end government subsidies for oil companies, among other changes, and other energy measures will be rolled out in the coming weeks, the aide said. Roll Call


People on the Move. Piers Sellers was hired as the deputy director of the sciences and exploration directorate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.  Sellers is a former astronaut.  Congressional Quarterly


McCarthy Launches GOP Energy Task Force.  House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy huddled Wednesday morning for the first time with a new internal GOP task force aimed at promoting Republicans' energy message. According to a GOP aide, the House Energy Action Team is made up of 26 members, including Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) and Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (Wash.) as well as numerous members from both committees. The group will act as leadership's primary vehicle for pushing its energy agenda and demonstrating that, "House Republicans are on the side of the small businesses and families who are increasingly harmed by record high energy prices," according to a description of the group provided to Roll Call. Roll Call


Odds Favor a Spending Agreement by Year's End. Chastened appropriators hope to clear spending bills with considerably less drama this year. After all, leaving most of the government on stopgap funding for half of fiscal 2011 and pushing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown over a relatively small amount of money has done nothing to improve voter appreciation of Congress. House cardinals could begin leading their subcommittees through markups of fiscal 2012 bills as early as May 23, with measures funding veterans' programs and the Department of Homeland Security likely to move first. Congressional Quarterly


AP News Break: Study Warns of Mercury in Arctic. Global mercury emissions could grow by 25 percent by 2020 if no action is taken to control them, posing a threat to polar bears, whales and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt those animals for food, an authoritative international study says. The assessment by a scientific body set up by the eight Arctic rim countries also warns that climate change may worsen the problem, by releasing mercury stored for thousands of years in permafrost or promoting chemical processes that transform the substance into a more toxic form. Associated Press 


House Authorization Bill Begins to Take Shape at Subcommittee Level. Four subcommittees of the House Armed Services panel started the annual process of authorizing defense programs Wednesday with markups of their portions of the fiscal 2012 bill (HR 1540). The two remaining subcommittees are scheduled to address their sections Thursday, and the full committee markup is set for May 11. Congressional Quarterly


Russian Icebreaker Hit By Radiation Leak. A Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker is returning to its home port after a radiation leak was detected. A statement from Rosatomflot, the shipping division of the state nuclear agency, released Thursday offered that a small increase in radiation in the ship reactor's ventilation system was detected. The Boston Globe 


Canada Sends Wood Bison to Russia to Help Herd Grow. Canadian wildlife officials have delivered a shipment of 30 wood bison from a national park in Alberta to a historic buffalo stomping ground in sub-Arctic Russia - part of a unique, intercontinental gift of natural heritage aimed at boosting the species' long range chances of survival. The bison airlift in late March was the second transplant of the Canadian beasts in the past five years to the Siberian republic of Sakha, where Russian biologists are trying to re-create a long-vanished ecosystem once dominated by the related steppe bison before its extinction about 10,000 years ago. The Vancouver Sun

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events     



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 the 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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