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February 6, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider several legislative items under suspension of the rules. The Senate will consider the FAA authorization conference report. 



This Week at a Glance: February 6-10, 2012. The Senate is expected to adopt a conference report on the FAA authorization. The Senate is expected to consider surface transportation legislation. The House is expected to consider insider trading legislation, a line-item veto provision, and legislation to "re-use" unneeded federal property. Congressional Quarterly


Less Summer Arctic Sea Ice Cover Means Colder, Snowier Winters in Central Europe. Even if the current weather situation may seem to speak against it, the probability of cold winters with much snow in Central Europe rises when the Arctic is covered by less sea ice in summer. Scientists of the Research Unit Potsdam of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have decrypted a mechanism in which a shrinking summertime sea ice cover changes the air pressure zones in the Arctic atmosphere and impacts our European winter weather. Science Daily 


Arctic MapPoles Apart: Protecting the Arctic from pollution requires a binding agreement like the Antarctic Treaty [Editorial]. Last month's centenary of the ill-fated arrival of Robert Scott at the South Pole prompted a swell of events and publicity. Yet there is another noteworthy anniversary from the far south this month. Sixty years ago, Antarctica - perhaps for the first and only time - echoed to the sound of hostile gunfire. In what became known as the 1952 Hope Bay Incident, Argentinian soldiers fired a machine gun over the heads of a British landing party that was attempting to re-establish and supply an Antarctic base that had burnt down several years earlier. In response, the British despatched armed marines from the Falkland Islands, who forced the Argentinians to retreat and offered naval protection for the reconstruction of the base. The incident was quickly brushed off as a misunderstanding, but relations had been strained. Less than a decade later, the international Antarctic Treaty set aside the territorial disputes that fuelled such skirmishes, and effectively handed the continent over to science. Nature 


Canada's Arctic Tundra is Vanishing. the latest work by Myers-Smith, Hik and 30 other researchers from 10 countries in the world suggests that sizable chunks of this alpine/tundra world are being taken over by shrub cover that is increasingly crowding out those plants that many Arctic animals depend on. "Climate warming may well be a reason why this is happening," said Myers-Smith, who is the lead author of a paper published recently in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters. "But snow cover, nutrient availability and interactions with other plant species may also be important." An increase in shrub growth may not sound serious when compared to the advance of trees such as spruce, which some scientists believe are moving higher up in the alpine country and closer to the Arctic coast as the climate warms. Ottawa Citizen 


Healy, Coast GuardCoast Guard Cutter Healy Returns to Seattle. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the nation's largest and only operational Polar ice breaker moored at Coast Guard Base Seattle Feb. 5 after completing a 254-day deployment. The Healy completed four Arctic science missions during the 2011 field season, as well as an 800-mile Bering Sea ice-escort of the Russian-flagged tanker vessel Renda to Nome, Alaska for a winter fuel delivery by sea. 




Russia Marks International Sami People's Day. Russia's Murmansk region marks International Sami People' Day on Monday, with a host of festivities expected there later in the day. Sami are the Arctic indigenous people inhabiting the Kola Peninsula of Russia and the northern regions of neighboring countries. The Kola Peninsula-based Sami people continue to make more efforts to preserve their mother tongue, develop national culture and expand ties with their compatriots from Norway, Sweden and Finland. The Voice of Russia


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Friday.


Future Events                                   


The Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, February 14 2012. The parliamentarians will discuss Arctic cooperation with the Chair of the Arctic Council Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Further on the agenda are issues including oil and gas development and the effect of climate change on human health. 


Arctic Policy Forum, February 15, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment


Pew: Arctic Ocean Energy Development, February 24, 2012. The Pew Environment Group will host a panel discussion on Arctic Ocean energy development. Panelist will be Michael R. Bromwich, former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement; Edward Itta, former mayor of North Slope Borough, Alaska; Vice Adm. Roger T. Rufe, U.S. Coast Guard (retired); and Fran Ulmer, member of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission, and now Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew's U.S. Arctic Program, will moderate. The speakers will address the challenges facing energy exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, such as oil spill response, Coast Guard readiness, infrastructure needs, and how to best protect wildlife habitat and subsistence areas. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 9, and the panel will be from 9 to 10:30 at the Pew offices 901 E Street NW Washington DC 20004. Please RSVP to


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


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  


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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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