Arctic Update Header
September 1, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Methane Closely Watches by Scientists. Russian ocean experts are going to assess the scale of methane emissions from the bottom of Arctic seas. They will spend 45 days on board the Academic Lavrentiev ship to determine the amount of gas coming into the atmosphere from the permafrost. Alongside Russian scientists, the expedition to get under way on September 2nd will also involve specialists from various US scientific centers. This expedition is a logical continuation of studies that have been carried out in the region by Russian scientists for over 15 years already. None out of the 27 expeditions of different scale held here were aimed at assessing methane emissions. A statement to that effect was voiced by Igor Semiletov of the Pacific Oceanological Institute in an interview with the Voice of Russia. The Voice of Russia  


Controlling Soot Could Reduce Warming in the Arctic: Scientist. A new study of dust-like particles of soot in the air provides fresh evidence that reducing soot emissions from diesel engines and other sources could cool down the Arctic faster and more economically than any other quick fix, a scientist said Aug. 31 at a conference in Denver. In his presentation to the American Chemical Society, Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University said his study shows that controlling soot could reduce warming in the Arctic by about 2 C within 15 years. Nunatsiaq News  


greenlandSecond Giant Ice Island Set to Break Off Greenland Glacier. New photographs taken of a vast glacier in northern Greenland have revealed the astonishing rate of its breakup, with one scientist saying he was rendered "speechless." In August 2010, part of the Petermann Glacier about four times the size of Manhattan island broke off, prompting a hearing in Congress. Researcher Alun Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth University, U.K., told by phone that another section, about twice the size of Manhattan, appeared close to breaking off. MSNBC


Canada Must Boost Scientific, Social Aspects ofcanadian flag Northern Strategy. [Opinion] Canada needs to open its doors to the international science community and follow its plan to bridge the gap between the living conditions of Inuit and other Canadians. That might do more than any military exercise in asserting Canada's Arctic sovereignty. As global warming unfolds, the summer sea-ice cover of the Arctic Ocean inevitably shrinks. Melting sea-ice opens new seaways, provides access to untapped mineral reserves and oil, and offers new and fascinating tourist destinations. It also modifies local climate. When the temperature of the ice-free waters is about three degrees C above the atmosphere, a thick fog forms over the ocean and spills over the many islands of the Canadian Archipelago. Embassy 


Northern Sea Route Setting Arctic Commerce Records. The tanker that just set the all-time speed record for crossing the Northern Sea Route over Russia has successfully passed through Alaska's Bering Strait and delivered its natural gas cargo to Thailand. "The STI Heritage arrived in the Bering Strait on July 29, having completed the NSR passage in a time of just 8 days," the Marine Log blog reported on Aug. 30. "The vessel arrived at her final destination, Map Ta Phut, Thailand on August 16, 2011, completing the total voyage (from her previous discharge in Houston) of approximately 9,000 Miles." Alaska Dispatch  


Tundra fireTundra Fires Unlock Implications of Fire-Driven Arctic. North of Fairbanks, past the Brooks Range, a swath of tundra has a few extra white heads of cottongrass and less lichen compared to its surroundings. If you dig down, as University of Florida and University of Alaska - Fairbanks (UAF) researchers did, you'd find the soil's burnt and thinned down past in the cottongrass mounds. This place, known as Anaktuvuk River, hadn't burned for 5,000 years. But in the summer of 2007, the largest tundra fire ever recorded tore through the area - and covered about 400 square miles. The fire got scientists thinking about what the future holds for the tundra if fires become more commonplace, and how much burning can occur before the ecosystem becomes something different. The Sun Star 


Mysterious "Orange Goo" Washes Ashore in Northwest Alaska in Early August. In early August, a mysterious "orange goo" substance washed ashore in the remote Inupiaq village of Kivalina along Alaska's northwest coast. The unusual phenomenon generated a lot of media speculation and troubled residents of the village, who feared contamination of their water tanks and berry harvest. To determine the nature of this substance, Alaska's Department of Environmental Control sent samples to NOAA's Analytical Response Team in Charleston, S.C., for thorough analysis and verification. "The spores are unlike others we and our network of specialists have examined; however, many rust fungi of the Arctic tundra have yet to be identified," said Steve Morton, Ph.D., of the NOAA Analytical Response Team. NOAA 


Murkowski Adds New Staff: Legislative Murkowski LisaStaffer Miles Baker to Head to DC with Senior Senator. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has announced the hiring of three staff members, including a new legislative assistant from Juneau. Joining Murkowski's staff as a legislative assistant is U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Warren Wright as a Coast Guard fellow working on issues involving the Department of Homeland Security and air and maritime issues. He's been previously based in Kodiak for Bering Sea assignments. An additional high profile vacancy, her fisheries aide, has yet to be filled, said spokesman Matthew Felling. Murkowski's senior staff members have been conducting an expedited search during the recess, he said. They expect to have a short list for the senator to consider next week. Juneau Empire

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.


Future Events                     


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 exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011. "Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hveragerđi, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different  perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


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 Fermo

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. Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011. Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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.   


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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