Arctic Update Header
November 11, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


'Minibus' Debate Monday, No Votes. The Senate will not be in session on Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of the Veterans Day holiday. The chamber will reconvene at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, and be in a period of morning business until 3 p.m. Thereafter, the Senate will proceed to the vehicle for the second fiscal 2012 minibus appropriations bill (HR 2354) for debate only. There will be no roll call votes. The next roll call votes will occur around noon on Tuesday, Nov. 15, on confirmation of two judicial nominations. Congressional Quarterly


russian flagRussia's Medvedev Pledges to Boost Arctic Research, Exploration Amid International Clamor. President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that Russia must invest more in the Arctic amid tough competition from other nations for the region's mineral riches. Medvedev said in televised remarks to workers in the fareastern city of Khabarovsk that Russia will take the necessary security steps and other moves to protect its interests in the polar region. The Daily Reporter


More Light Under Ice. In summer, Arctic waters become an ever-evolving mosaic of bare ice, meltwater ponds and open water. In June and July 2010, Bonnie Light of the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues measured the optical properties of ice floes formed during the previous winter in the Chukchi Sea to see how changes in ice cover affect the amount of solar radiation that reaches the ocean. The transmission of sunlight through ice covered by meltwater ponds was generally an order of magnitude greater than that through thicker bare ice. But horizontal propagation of light in the vicinity of melt ponds, caused by scattering in the ice, led to unexpectedly high rates of light transmittance under the surface of bare ice. Nature


canadian flagCanada's Tiny Arctic Port Faces Uncertain Future. Every summer for three months, the Hudson Bay ice breaks up and ships load Canadian Prairie grain for export, putting more than 100 people to work in the tiny northern Manitoba town of Churchill. The town of just 900 - well known for the polar bears that often wander through its streets - is Canada's only Arctic port. But that key driver of the local economy could become as endangered as the polar bear next year when the Canadian Wheat Board, the port's biggest shipper, loses its monopoly on marketing Western Canadian wheat and barley. Reuters


Russia Defines a Legislative Approach to Developing Arctic. The International Arctic Legal Forum was held in Salekhard. Politicians, scientists, businessmen, and foreign experts gathered in the Arctic Circle to hammer out approaches to ensure that the natural resources of the Arctic are developed safely. Without a mechanism to correct damage or to insure against risks to the environment, not only might the traditional habitat of the peoples of the North be destroyed, but it could lead to irreversible changes to the earth's climate. Rus Business News


Polar bearCanada Moves to Protect Polar Bears. The majestic but vulnerable polar bear has been declared a "species of special concern" under Canada's Species at Risk Act. That is one level below threatened and two levels below endangered under the act. Environment Minister Peter Kent notes that Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bear population. The listing means a comprehensive management plan must be prepared within three years. Alaska Dispatch


Norway Should Maintain Submarine Fleet: Study. Norway's national defense capability would be best served by either extending the life of its submarine fleet or acquiring a next-generation sub, according to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The study, which examined Norway's submarine needs after 2020 when the Navy's Ula-class fleet is due to be renewed, determined that no other military capabilities are suited to replace its submarines. The direct inference is that Norway should replace its submarine fleet with a new-generation of Arctic-class stealth subs. Defense News


Worst of Alaska Storm Over But More Surges Expected. The worst was over on Thursday for an "epic" winter storm that pounded Alaska's west coast with wind and snow and left one man missing after a 10-foot surge of seawater into Nome, officials said. The storm, considered the strongest to hit western Alaska in several decades, has largely moved northwest toward the Russian Arctic, said Don Moore, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Chicago Tribune


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events                                   


Arctic Policy Forum: The Role of Science in Responsible Development, November 15, 2011. Join the Institute of the North for this quarter's Arctic Policy Forum.  This presentation and networking event will focus on science and collaboration in the Arctic and will feature Michael Macrander, Lead Scientist for Shell and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Institute of the North's Arctic Policy Forums are a new way of engaging in Arctic issues. These quarterly networking events  serve to underline and elevate Alaska's role in the Arctic.  Informal policy presentations followed by networking events invite policy makers and administrators, researchers, community leaders and interested citizens together for an informal sharing opportunity. Participants will hear expert presentations on key policy findings and positions; emerging Arctic technologies; and challenges facing infrastructure development in the Arctic. Participants will also have the opportunity to spend time getting to know key stakeholders in Alaska's Arctic.

White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


 activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


US Arctic Research Commission meeting in Washington, DC, January 25-27, 2012. The Commission will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the 25th, and then with representatives from the federal government and other entities to discuss Arctic research issues. An agenda will be provided in early January here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent 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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