Arctic Update Header
July 19, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The Senate will consider tax provisions. The House will continue to consider the Department of Defense Appropriations bill.  



Southeast Alaska Pink Salmon Adapting to Climate Change, Warming Water. A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Alaska on a creek in the Southeast part of the state has revealed that pink salmon are adapting over time to migrate earlier, a response to warming waters associated with climate change. The study has major implications for explaining how animals in the wild are adapting to warming climates and which animals might be falling behind. The researchers looked at populations of pink salmon in Auke Creek -- near the state's capital, Juneau -- taking advantage of a genetic marker that another researcher had used to monitor early and late-run salmon populations in the 1980s. Alaska Dispatch 


harry reidLeaders Prioritize Election Over Legislation, Members Complain. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell berated each other for almost 40 minutes Wednesday, each accusing the other of choreographing stalemates in an attempt to influence this year's presidential race. On the other side of the Capitol, Speaker John A. Boehner took a tough line of attack, saying President Obama "doesn't give a damn about middle-class Americans who are out there looking for work." As leaders of both parties turn their attention toward their national party conventions later this summer and look to the fall elections, rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats are increasingly concerned that their legislative priorities will fall by the wayside. Congressional Quarterly


More Small Boats Sailing Through Northwest Passage. Sailing through the Northwest Passage is a romantic idea, bringing to mind the adventures of Arctic explorers from years past, but it's a risky adventure more and more people are taking, and in smaller boats. Australians Chris Bray and Jess Taunton are attempting to finish their Northwest Passage journey - which they began last year - this summer. "We believe we were playing it a lot safer with splitting it up into those two seasons," said Bray. Last summer, they got as far as Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, before having to store their vessel for the winter. CBC   


Death Rate Among Inuit Kids Soars Over Rest of Canada: Suicide the main driver. A new study paints a bleak picture of life - and death - among children and teenagers living in the Inuit Nunangat, the four Arctic regions that make up the Inuit homelands. Children and teens growing up in the Nunangat are roughly five times more likely to die than their counterparts in the rest of Canada. They are 11 times more likely to succumb to an infectious or parasitic disease and twice as likely to be killed by a non-communicable one. Their risk of dying from an injury is nearly 11 times higher than children and teenagers in the rest of the country. But the biggest driver behind the staggeringly higher death rate among Inuit children and teens is suicide. Ottawa Citizen


Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools. Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a toolkit for suicide prevention. There are several passing references to suicide in Indian Country and a link to a 2010 report for additional information; "To Live to See the Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults." SAMHSA 


 Worried About the Future of US? Look to the Arctic. Most Americans think of the Arctic as an icy, distant place; beautiful, remote and teeming with wildlife, but unrelated to their daily lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. This summer, big doings on America's northern doorstep will have enormous consequences to the economic, strategic and environmental future of the nation. Yet we are unprepared for the challenges and opportunities. What happens in the Arctic as ice melts there could soon cheapen the cost of the gas you buy and products you purchase from Asia. It could help make the nation more energy independent. It could draw our leaders into a conflict over undersea territory. It is already challenging Washington to protect millions of square miles filled with some of the most magnificent wildlife on Earth, and Native people whose culture and way of life is at risk as a squall line of development sweeps across the once inaccessible top of the planet. Alaska Dispatch    


oil spill in open oceanUS Coast Guard Needs Billions of Dollars to Cover Oil Companies in Arctic. Shell is one of six energy companies hoping to begin drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic next month. Global warming has led to large amounts of ice melting, which in turn has opened up new areas off Alaska's north coast, ready for oil and gas exploration. Since 2005 Shell has spent $4.5 billion preparing for its upcoming Arctic adventure, but it now turns out that US citizens may be required to fork out nearly as much in order to control and regulate oil company operations in the Arctic. The Coast Guard will need to follow the companies exploring in the Alaskan waters, in order to defend US interests, carry out sea rescues when needed, and organize responses to oil spills. The problem is that the Coast Guard is not equipped for Arctic operations. According to a joint report by the Congressional Research Team and the Coast Guard, it lacks the necessary communication and navigation systems, and will need at least $3 billion invested in new vessels and equipment, if it hopes to function effectively within the cold, rough seas of the Arctic Circle. Oil 


Polar bear Canadian Polar Bear Management Needs Fixing. [Opinion] When you have a species, like the polar bear, that is facing catastrophic habitat loss throughout much of its range, you need to adjust your management according.  In particular, it becomes incredibly important to safeguard those places where the species may be able to find refuge in the future. Natural Resources Defense Council 


US Missing Out on Arctic Land Grab. There's an international race to divvy up the Arctic Ocean's oil and mineral bounty, but the United States could lose out on a big chunk of it because it hasn't signed a United Nations treaty governing the area. Earlier this week two key U.S. senators announced they would not support ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty. The treaty codifies a whole host of maritime laws and customs which could help smooth tensions simmering in the Arctic. CNN

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events    


healthmeetinglogo15th 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 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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  


Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.

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