Arctic Update Header
September 14, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a resolution to impose trade sanction on Myanmar, which may be used as a legislative vehicle for FEMA disaster relief funding. The House will consider everal items under suspension of the rules.

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.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


OcgycoverArctic oceanography publication. The September issue of the journal Oceanography, "The Changing Arctic Ocean: Special Issue on the International Polar Year (2007-2009)," is now available from The Oceanography Society, here. This issue, co-sponsored by the USARC, NOAA, and NSF, contains 30 contributions on a wide range of Arctic-related subjects such as marine geology, research vessels, outreach, science policy, ocean observing, physical, biological and chemical oceanography, modeling, sea ice, and other topics. The issue was edited by Ellen Kappel, with assistance from guest editors Joseph Ortiz, Kelly Falkner, Patricia Matrai, and Rebecca Woodgate.


Oil Drilling in AlaskaInterior Proposes New Offshore Drilling Safety Rules. The Department of the Interior on Tuesday proposed a new set of workplace safety guidelines for the offshore oil and gas industry on the eve of expected major Obama administration findings regarding its investigation into last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The new proposed guidelines go about tackling some of the biggest issues raised in multiple probes into the April 10 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Politico 


Observations of Climate Change from Indigenous Alaskans. Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities. Science Daily 


Senators Form Oceans Caucus to Highlight Economic Development, Fund Research. A bipartisan group of coastal state senators launched a new caucus Tuesday designed to facilitate discussions about the ties between oceans and the economies of coastal communities, with a priority of funding an oceans endowment. Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski will serve as co-chairmen of the Oceans Caucus. Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska and Republican Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries, respectively, were tapped as "honorary" co-chairmen to foster effective communication between the caucus and the panel. Congressional Quarterly


russian flagRussian, U.S. Scientists Set to Study Methane Release in Arctic. A group of Russian and U.S. scientists will leave the port of Vladivostok on Friday on board a Russian research ship to study methane emissions in the eastern part of the Arctic. "This expedition was organized on a short notice by the Russian Fund of Fundamental Research and the U.S. National Science Foundation following the discovery of a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the seabed in the eastern part of the Arctic," said Professor Igor Semiletov, the head of the expedition. RIANovosti 


Militarization of the Arctic: Britain Spearheads "Mini-NATO" in Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea. Russia sees no need for military troops' presence in the Arctic region, a high-ranked official said here Wednesday. Russia's ambassador-at-large for Arctic issues Anton Vasiliev told a news conference ahead of the Second International Arctic Forum that Moscow sees no unresolvable problems in the region that require use of military forces. He said Moscow has not seen any practical follow-up proposals to create a "mini-NATO" comprised of circumpolar countries. The idea of a "mini-NATO" was voiced out during a summit of Northern European countries in London in January 2011. Centre for Research on Globalization 


Opinion: How not to run a Navy: Canada's Sub-Par Submarines. When Britain held a scratch-and-dent sale in 1998 to get rid of some surplus submarines, Canada went shopping. Our 30-year-old fleet was long past its prime and Ottawa wasn't ready to commit to the cost of new ones. That was 13 years ago. The deal seemed too good to turn down at the start: Just $750 million for an eight-year lease/purchase - about a quarter of the estimated replacement value - for four barely used diesel/electric submarines that had been mothballed only because Britain had moved to an all-nuclear fleet. Vancouver Sun


Arctic Ocean Melt Slows, Record Minimum Unlikely in 2011. With the extent of frozen sea across the Arctic Ocean hovering at the second lowest level seen during the 32 seasons of satellite monitoring, melting has slowed way down and probably won't set a new minimum record in 2011, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. "The rate of decline has flattened considerably the last few days: Arctic sea ice is likely near its minimum value for the year," the NSIDC said in a report posted Tuesday. "However, weather patterns could still push the ice extent lower." Alaska Dispatch


US House Plans Hearing on Alaska Refuge Drilling. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be in the spotlight in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning. The House Natural Resources Committee plans a hearing on the refuge and its potential for jobs, energy and deficit reduction. Chairman Doc Hastings previously had announced plans to recommend increased federal offshore and onshore drilling, including development within the refuge. Canadian Business


Russian Minister Urges Better Environmental Protection in Arctic. Russia should develop environmental protection infrastructure in its segment of the Arctic, including oil spill response centers, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday. Russia will gradually expand its presence in the region as retreating Arctic ice extends the period when the Northern Sea Route remains ice-free, he said. RIA Novosti 


Future of Russian Arctic. In 2012, Russia will begin seismic exploration on the Arctic shelf of  the Barents sea. Norway, which had claimed part of the deposit sites has agreed. This was announced at the 10th International conference of RAOCIS Offshore in St. Petersburg. More than 500 leading specialists in the oil sector from 20 different countries are taking part in the conference. They include the chiefs of Norway's Statoil ASA, the French Total and the American Exxon Mobil company, all of which are partners of the Russian Gazprom in the development of huge gas deposits at Stockman. All aspects of the problem of exploration and exploitation of the oil and gas reserves on the Russian shelf are being examined in St. Petersburg. Also being discussed is the delivery of oil and gas from regions along the freezing seas, as well as new technologies of oil extraction. According to experts, the Barents sea has over 7 billion tons of oil, and the potential output is 20 million tons of oil per year, says Anatoly Dmitriyevsky, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences'  Institute of the problems of oil and gas. The Voice of Russia


State's Agriculture Research Center May be Cut. Ongoing Congressional negotiations will determine the fate of many federal programs with a presence in Alaska.  Among items proposed for cuts by the President and Congress are 10 Department of Agriculture research centers, including Alaska's. The Sub Arctic research center is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with units in Palmer and Kodiak.  U.A.F. Dean of the School of Natural and Agriculture Sciences, Carol Lewis, says a lot is at stake if the agricultural research funding is lost. Alaska Public Radio

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                         


Senate Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations Committee Markup, September 14. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations will meet to mark up a draft version of their funding bill for FY 2012.


The Arctic: A Territory of Cooperation. US-Russia Videoconference on multilateral development of the region, September 15. On the eve of the 2d International Arctic Forum to be held in the city of Arkhangelsk (Russia) on September 21-24, 2011, the Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti) is honored to host a videoconference to mark the two important dates, namely, the upcoming Forum and the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic Council on 09.19.1996. During the upcoming videoconference, the leading officials and prominent experts from Russia and the US will express their opinions on the development of the Arctic resources and expanding transport corridors, as well as the environment issues and multilateral cooperation in the region. 


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


Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, September 21-24, 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.


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.    

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