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November 8, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a tax withholding provision and a judicial nomination. The House will not be in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


NOAANOAA Seeks Input on Enforcement Priorities: Public Comment Period on Draft List of Priorities Open Through January 9. Today, NOAA released a draft of its enforcement priorities and invited the public to submit comments through January 9. These enforcement priorities are the latest step NOAA is taking to improve its enforcement program, and will help the agency emphasize compliance through better communication with fishermen. Other improvements in the last two years include new leadership, higher-level review of charging decisions, and a new penalty policy to ensure more consistent penalties nationwide. "Fair and effective enforcement is essential to our ability to rebuild and protect the public's fisheries and other natural resources, and to protect the many fishermen who play by the rules," said Bruce Buckson, director of NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement. "These priorities will help us focus our resources and strategically use our state and federal partnerships to provide the most benefit for marine resources and the American people." NOAA


2 Parties' Icebreakers Plans on Collision Course. For a pair of battered ships that in recent years have mostly sat docked in Seattle, the Coast Guard's heavy-duty icebreakers are facing roiling waters in Congress. The Coast Guard wants to mothball the hobbled Polar Sea and scavenge the 33-year-old vessel for parts for its sister ship, the Polar Star. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., opposes the move. Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a two-year Coast Guard authorization bill that included an amendment co-sponsored by Cantwell barring the service from decommissioning the Polar Sea. Seattle Times 


How Arctic Microbes Respond to A Warming World. From the North Pole to the Arctic Ocean, the frozen soils within this region keep an estimated 1,672 billion metric tons of carbon out of the Earth's atmosphere. This sequestered carbon is more than 250 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the United States in the year 2009. As global temperatures slowly rise, however, so too do concerns regarding the potential impacts upon the carbon cycle when the permafrost thaws and releases the carbon that has been trapped for eons. Like so many of the planet's critical environmental processes, the smallest players-microbes-have the most significant influence over the eventual outcome. 


Oil Whale ExxonOil Fight: Conservationists vs. Shell in Alaska: Green groups worry how oil drilling may affect whales seals; feds say any risk is negligible. Federal officials say oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean will have "a negligible impact" on the region's endangered whales and seals, but conservationists say the report fails to account for the long-term effects of oil development on marine wildlife and ignores lessons from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The National Marine Fisheries Service released a 54-page report assessing the risks to marine mammals from drilling planned for several sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas north of Alaska. Shell wants to drill beginning in July 2012. Discovery


Brain EyesRunning Reindeer are Able to Cool Their Brains. A Norwegian study that had reindeer running on treadmills has shown that the Arctic animals are able to selectively cool their brains. The thick-coated mammals, which are heavily insulated against freezing temperatures, were found to use varying methods when they begin to overheat. The scientists from the Universities of Tromso and Oslo measured the physiological responses of the creatures after teaching them to run on treadmills in cold temperatures."Reindeer are the best animals to work with; once they trust the trainer they will do anything for you," Prof Arnoldus Blix told the journal of Experimental Biology. Ice News 


Scientists Probe Alaska's Very Gassy Mini-Marvels. It's a movie script we've seen over and over: A frozen beast from the past is thawed and once awakened, wreaks havoc among modern society. Interestingly, that same storyline is unfolding in real life - somewhat -- inside scientific labs, and it has an Alaskan twist. Researchers have carted chunks of Alaska permafrost off to California, where have learned that allowing the once frozen soil to thaw wakes up hungry microbes, which also offered a cautionary tale. Here's an excerpt: As the Arctic permafrost melts over the coming decades, long-frozen microorganisms will thaw out and start feasting on the soil. The first have already begun to wake up - and early signs are that they will have a major impact on how Earth's climate changes. Alaska Dispatch 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered.

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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