US Arctic Research Commission
May 6, 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.  


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Budget Negotiators Appear Ready to Scale Back. A grand bargain on deficit capitalreduction seemed unlikely as staffers began meeting Thursday afternoon on behalf of the bipartisan group of lawmakers charged with seeking a compromise. Vice President Joseph Biden is leading the negotiations with lawmakers from both chambers, and their first meeting was on Thursday morning.


Senate Prepares to Go After Big Oil. Senate Democrats are looking to bring to the floor next week a plan to strike billions of dollars in annual tax incentives for the five biggest oil companies. "That's what we're thinking," a Senate Democratic leadership aide told POLITICO Thursday evening, adding there won't likely be a vote on the measure next week. Politico  


Exhibit Examine Balance of Power and Energy in Alaska. Early humans relied only on the power generated by their own bodies: energy in the form of food. Then they discovered fire. Suddenly, our ancestors were able to access the energy stored over decades, not just days or months, and transform it into heat and light. That was the beginning of the balancing act humans play between the need for power and the forms of available energy. A new exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, "Power Play: Energizing Our Lives, Fueling Alaska's Future," looks at the balance of energy in Alaska. University of Alaska  


Offshore Oil Production Bill Passes House. The House passed on Thursday the offshore oilfirst in a series of three measures aimed at boosting offshore oil production. The bill (HR 1230), sponsored by Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., would require the Interior Department to conduct offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia's coast. 


Economic Analysis Updated for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available. Science Daily  


Arctic Clean-Up on Plans. Dr Vladimir Sokolov is an environment expert at the St Petersburg-based Institute of the Arctic and the Antarctic: "For a number of decades, this country's exploration and development work in the High Arctic relied on aviation. There are now millions of steel fuel drums all along the Arctic coast, in every spot where the Soviets operated an airfield. Many of these rusting drums are still half-full. Leaving them where they are spells massive damage to the Arctic environment. A clean-up is on plans, at a cost of at least 10 billion euros." The Voice of Russia  


BP's Russian Partners Seek to Proceed with Arctic Project. BP PLC's Russian partners in the TNK-BP Ltd. joint venture said Friday they welcomed the decision by an arbitral tribunal permitting the U.K. oil company to proceed with a share swap with OAO Rosneft on condition that an Arctic exploration deal is done through TNK-BP.  "We see the Arctic transaction with Rosneft as a great opportunity for TNK-BP and for Russia, which we would like to succeed," said a statement by the partners-a group of Soviet-born businessmen collectively known as the Alfa-Access-Renova, or AAR, consortium. Wall Street Journal


Holdren's Response to Ban on China Science Partnerships Draws GOP Ire. The Obama Administration has carved out a loophole in the recent congressional ban on scientific interactions with China that would permit most activities between the two countries to continue. But that interpretation doesn't sit well with Republicans in the House of Representatives who drafted the language, one of whom said today that ignoring the ban could imperil funding for NASA or other science agencies. Science Magazine 


Scientists Strengthen Their Call for Climate Change Action at the Arctic Council: arcticcouncil"I don't think the Arctic Council can ignore the fact that 400 scientists have been meeting here." The Arctic Council must respond to rapid climate change in the Arctic with action next week, said more than 400 scientists and experts, who met this past week in Copenhagen for a conference on climate change and pollution. Officials from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program and scientists handed a statement to Lene Espersen, the Danish minister of foreign affairs and chair of the Arctic Council, on May 6, asking her to take the statement to Nuuk for Arctic Council's May 12 ministerial meeting. Nunatsiaq Online    


Diabetes is a 'Time Bomb' in the Arctic: Expert Research shows pollutants are linked to higher levels of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a ticking "time bomb" in the Arctic, says a public health expert at this week's conference on climate change and pollution in the Arctic in Copenhagen. That's because the persistant organic pollutants found in the meat and blubber of marine mammals, like pilot whales, beluga and narwhal, are linked to the development of diabetes,  said Philippe Grandjean from the University of Southern Denmark and the Harvard School of Public Health. Nunatsiaq Online  


Scientists Measure Arctic Soot in Bid to Slow Ocean's Rise. American scientists working on an island far above the Arctic Circle have been launching unmanned aircraft and digging snow samples to measure how soot helps melt Arctic snow and ice. Satellite observations in recent decades show longer warm seasons and more melting throughout the region. One reason for this is black carbon, the basic component of soot. The black pollution absorbs light energy, increasing temperatures that speed melting. McClatchy News Service

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (Hastings, passed/ agreed to in the House)

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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