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June 21, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider amendments to the farm bill. The Senate is also expected to consider a flood insurance reauthorization. The House will consider legislation to mandate an increase in oil and gas production.  


Nominations are requested for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) request nominations for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee (SAC). SCICEX (Science Ice Exercise) is the US Federal inter-agency submarine Arctic science program. The SAC advises the Federal agencies on scientific priorities, makes recommendations for baseline data collection, and periodically reviews these and updates the SCICEX Phase II Science Plan. The SAC members represent the fields of sea ice geophysics, physical oceanography, biological oceanography and marine geophysics. The SAC typically meets once per year, usually at either ONR or NSF. Nominations are currently sought for a sea ice geophysicist and marine geophysicist. Nominations should include the name, scientific background and accomplishments of the nominee, and a brief statement as to why they would be a good choice for SAC membership. Experience with submarine-based science is not required. Nominations should be sent to Dr. Martin Jeffries ( and Dr. Erica Key ( no later than 31 July 2012. For more information about SCICEX, including the current SAC membership and the Phase II Science Plan, go to




Oil Drilling in AlaskaCity Investors Are Getting Cold Feet About Arctic Oil Prospecting: As well as the environmental and ethical argument against oil drilling in the Arctic, some investors say it is too risky to back. Sir Paul McCartney and Greenpeace want to turn the Arctic into a no-go area for oil companies - but there are already signs that the City financial groups are getting cold feet about polar drilling. Shell, which wants to lead the exploration charge off Alaska, has repeatedly declined to say what the potential cost of an oil spill would be, but some lenders are voting with their feet. WestLB, a key German bank for the energy sector, has quietly changed its lending policies to exclude operations in the far north. It says the "risks and costs are simply too high." The Guardian 


Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low for June 18: Data Center. After a period of rapid Arctic sea ice loss through the first half of June, sea ice extent is now slightly below 2010 levels, the previous record low at this time of year, the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a June 20 update. And the speed at which the sea ice is melting on the Arctic Ocean puts the coverage behind 2007 - when sea ice hit a record low in September. Recent ice loss rates have been 100,000 to 150,000 square kilometres per day, more than double the usual rate, the NSIDC said. On June 18, the five-day average sea ice extent was 10.62 million sq. km. Nunatsiaq Online


Witness the Arctic. The Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS) recently released the spring Witness the Arctic. The spring issue contains information on: community input into SEARCH 5-year goals and objectives, the value of ethnography in times of change, the US and Canadian Arctic Commissions establish a collaborative path forward, a review of International Polar Year, etc. A downloadable copy is available here


UAVUS Defense Firm May Build Arctic Drones for Canada. ANALYSIS: North American Arctic nations are busy researching new developments in northern technology. As meantioned recently, the U.S. is trying to develop a "Knight Rider" vehicle for Alaska. Now, Northrop Grumman, the American defense company, is trying to sell a modified version of its Block 30 RQ-4B Global Hawk, a type of surveillance drone, to Canada. Defense Minister Peter McKay told Aviation Week, "Without naming names, I can say that it is not just Global Hawk that we are considering." Northrop Grumman's so-called "Polar Hawk" drone would have several modifications made to render it suitable for operations in the Arctic. Flight Global reports that the aircraft would have an Iridium satellite-communications link to allow for command-and-control for the drone north of 70 degrees latitude. The wings and engine would also have de-icing and anti-icing capabilities, respectively. Alaska Dispatch



Interview with Indianapolis Prize Winner and Polar Bear Researcher Steven Amstrup. After spending nearly 30 years studying polar bears in Alaska, researcher Steven Amstrup was the lead author on a series of studies that led to the species becoming the first to be officially listed as threatened, in 2008, due to the dangers of climate change. Since 2010, he has worked as the chief scientist for the organization Polar Bears International. Today it was announced that he is the 2012 recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation. He spoke with the us about why he's fascinated by polar bears, how they suffer from melting sea ice and why it's still not too late to halt catastrophic climate change. NPR affiliate WOUB

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


The Institute of the North hosts Arctic-related events. For details, go here. Three upcoming events, all in Anchorage, AK are: (a) Commercial Applications of Northern Airships, July 31-Aug 2, Federal Research: Priorities and Processes, August 13, and Northern Energy Technology and Science Fair, August 15.


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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


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. 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.   

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