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February 29, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Today, the Senate will resume consideration of the surface transportation bill. The House will consider legislation on California's water supply and Iran.


APPROPRIATIONS: Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, February 29, 2012. The Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies of the Senate Appropriations Committee will hear testimony by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar on the President's FY 2013 budget request.   




PuffinOverfishing Threatens the Survival of Seabirds. From gannets to seagulls, puffins to penguins, all seabirds suffer the same drop in birth rates when the supply of fish drops to less than a third of maximum capacity. That's the result from an international study on the relationships between predators and prey in seven ecosystems around the world, published in the magazine Science and coordinated by Philippe Cury, an IRD researcher. Based on nearly 450 cumulative years of observation, the research team compared the growth in fish supplies and the reproductive patterns  of 14 species of coastal birds. These birds mainly feed on sardines, anchovies, herring and prawns, all of which are victims of over fishing. Below the critical level of one third of the fish biomass, the birds -- and the stability of the entire ecosystem -- come under threat. Science Daily 


Canada to Lose Its 'Pearl' of Arctic Research; "A stunning lack of interest on the part of the Canadian government in long-term Arctic issues." Canada's most northerly research station is ceasing year-round operation, a "draconian" move decried by scientists both nationally and internationally. "Its closure shows a stunning lack of interest on the part of the Canadian government in long-term Arctic issues," atmospheric scientist Jim Drummond, at Dalhousie University, said of the loss of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory. Drummond and his colleagues announced Tuesday that PEARL, as the lab on Nunavut's northern Ellesmere Island is called, will stop operating continuously at the end of April due to lack of funding. Nunatsiaq Online


USCGlogoUSCG to station ships at Alaska's North Slope this summer to eye Shell drilling platforms. For the first time in history, the Coast Guard will be stationing responders at Alaska's North Slope this summer, when Shell Oil begins drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. said that the Arctic doesn't represent a security threat for at least the next decade, but that the Coast Guard has "a much wider aperture," beyond strictly defense. Papp told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service that the Arctic has economic, energy, and environmental implications for national security. Coast Guard missions there are increasing because Shell Oil Co. has permits to drill in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort seas beginning this summer, he said. Shell will move 33 ships and 500 people to Alaska's North Slope, and will helicopter some 250 people a week to drilling platforms, the Admiral said. That activity has the potential to increase Coast Guard workloads in pollution and environmental response, as well as in search and rescue, he noted. Marine Link 


ONR Call for Planning Letters-Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics of the Emerging Arctic Ocean. In response to the observed decline in arctic sea ice extent, the U.S. Navy has a renewed interest in understanding and predicting the environment in this region, including a desire to forecast the presence or absence of sea ice at a variety of lead times. However, there remain fundamental gaps in our knowledge of the physical environment and processes; interactions and feedbacks that are critical to understanding the seasonal evolution of sea ice and the effect of increasing open water on the ice and on the atmosphere, at the arctic to hemispheric scale. To address this issue, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Arctic and Global Prediction Program will support a 5-year-long Department Research Initiative (DRI) to better understand the sea state and boundary layer physics of the emerging Arctic Ocean, particularly in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Arctic Research Consortium of the United States 


GOP US Sen. Snowe of Maine Won't Seek Re-Election, cites Washington's increasing polarization. With centrists becoming few and far between, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe cited the increasingly polarized climate of Washington in abandoning the U.S. Senate after three terms, giving Democrats new hope of winning the longtime GOP-held seat. Sometimes criticized as a RINO - short for Republican in Name Only - Snowe continued to express her desire for the national parties to find middle ground to get things accomplished, saying she was frustrated by "'my way or the highway" ideologies. Her announcement Tuesday came as shock to both parties, leaving an empty seat, throwing the Senate race into disarray in Maine and dealing an immediate blow to Republicans hoping to take control of the Senate in November. "It makes this seat one of the top Democratic targets in the country, from not being a Democratic target at all," said Sandy Maisel, Director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs at Colby College. Washington Post  


Murkowski 2Senator Murkowski Questions Interior Secretary Salazar on Alaska Issues. In Senator Murkowski's questioning of Interior Secretary Salazar, she highlighted her concerns about the slow pace of reclamation of existing wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the federal government's long overdue conveyance of land owed to Alaska and Alaska Natives under the over 40-year-old Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act (ANCSA). Senator Lisa Murkowski


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered on yesterday.

Future Events                                   


Interagency Science in the Arctic, March 6, 2012. The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (AACAP) will host a webinar with the National Science Foundation's Erica Key. The purpose of this webinar is to connect scientists with government officials and policymakers. 


Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click here.


The Science of Ocean and Coastal Restoration, March 7, 2012. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership will hold a Public Policy Forum in the Capitol Hill Visitors Center (Room SVC 210/212) on Capitol Hill. This year's theme is the science of ocean and coastal restoration. The Forum will begin at 8:30 a.m. and features 3 panels with various panelists from around the country and remarks by several Members of Congress. Invited speakers include EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senator Begich, Senator Cardin, and USARC Chair Fran Ulmer. Details here.  


Fiscal 2013 Budget: Native American Programs, March 8, 2012. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2013 budget request for Native American programs.


Fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization: Southern and Northern Commands, March 13, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Northern Command in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2013 and the future years' defense program. The session may be closed.


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 here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether 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. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details to follow. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy

formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click 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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 

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