Arctic Update Header
June 8, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


 The Senate is in recess.  The House will consider legislative branch appropriations.




polarseaHouse Transportation Panel Endorses Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill. A House panel endorsed a reauthorization of Coast Guard programs Thursday that would require the agency to give Congress a cost-benefit analysis on restoring an aging icebreaking ship before lawmakers sign off on the vessel's replacement. The amended bill (HR 5887), which the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved by voice vote, would authorize $6.9 billion for the Coast Guard's operation and maintenance costs for fiscal 2013 and $7 billion annually for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. Congressional Quarterly


Scientists Discover Huge Phytoplankton Bloom in Ice-Covered Waters. A team of researchers, including scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), discovered a massive bloom of phytoplankton beneath ice-covered Arctic waters. Until now, sea ice was thought to block sunlight and limit the growth of microscopic marine plants living under the ice. Science Daily 


capitalWhere Does Congress Stand With Appropriations Bills? Both the House and the Senate appropriations committees are off to strong starts in the appropriations process for fiscal 2013. Will both chambers pass all 12 major bills before the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30? Probably not. In most years, many key bills are passed well after the start of the new fiscal year, necessitating Continuing Resolutions to keep the government funded. Government Executive

Navy Researchers Seek to Improve Weather Prediction for Global Operations. With the Atlantic hurricane season officially beginning this month, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is pursuing a number of projects to help Navy forecasters and meteorologists around the world predict storms better. "Weather is one of the most significant factors affecting naval operations at sea," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. "ONR-funded research in weather prediction is improving the Navy's forecasting capability and accuracy for any location around the world where our Sailors and Marines are conducting missions." Office of Naval Research  


shellShell Recruits, Trains for Arctic Oil Spill. Against the backdrop of Alaska's snow-topped Chugach Mountains and in the same waters that were spoiled by the Exxon Valdez oil spill more than two decades ago, Shell is training recruits in skills it hopes they never have to use. The company is putting scores of people through oil spill response training in the Valdez port, ahead of expected drilling in Arctic waters north of Alaska this summer.   If regulators approve the plans, Shell anticipates drilling up to five wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The recruits - mostly men and mostly long-time Alaskans - are learning how to deploy inflatable boom for corralling floating crude and how to suck it up with skimmers once it has been lassoed by the orange booms. They are practicing on the same ships that Shell plans to station around its drilling operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in case something goes wrong. Fuel Fix 


Thinning Sea Ice Skews Timing for Seabirds. A surprise discovery suggests thinning Arctic sea ice could be upsetting the delicate timing of birth and growth for northern wildlife. Scientists have long known that warming temperatures have increased the amount of thinner, first-year ice in waters that used to be covered by meters-thick, multi-year ice. That first-year ice, as thin as half a meter, allows light to pass through. The Canadian Press 


ScienceBase Plans for the Arctic on Good Science. [Opinion] Friday is World Oceans Day and Alaskans can celebrate by honoring one of nature's most spectacular events -- the great migration of animals traveling into the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean is home to an unusual abundance of wildlife. Consistent and extensive polynyas -- stretches of open water surrounded by sea ice -- create pathways into the Arctic for bowhead whales, seals and birds seeking to take advantage of the explosion of productivity created by constant daylight. Anchorage Daily News 


Commitment from Ottawa Needed to Further Arctic Ocean Science. [Opinion] Most Canadians often forget that our nation is one of only a handful of countries acting as custodian of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. As such, it makes sense that Canada initially proposed World Oceans Day back in 1992. Since then, every June 8 is a chance for us to reflect on the health of our oceans and seas. For one patient in particular, the signs aren't good. While the Atlantic and Pacific oceans capture most of our attention, the Arctic Ocean needs our focus most. Among our ocean ecosystems, the Arctic is perhaps least understood, and arguably the least directly affected by human activity. The Record 


honey bucketClimate Change in Arctic Alaska Town Threatens Fish Stocks, Drinking Water. Melting ice cellars and rotting whale meat, the arrival of beaver fever in a once-pristine land, and water supplies that might go dry are just a few of the health risks posed by climate change in the Arctic. Now, in a newly released fifth report examining looming threats to villages, the Center for Climate and Health at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium zeroes in on the Arctic Alaska village of Selawik, population 830, about 70 miles southeast of Kotzebue that's said to be sinking as permafrost thaws. The Inupiat village has been called the "Venice of Northwest Alaska" because of the settling ground. Stairs to some houses no longer reach the ground. Shifting water pipes break more easily. And some homes tilt so much toilet bowls can't fill with water for flushing, forcing families to return to the old-fashioned honeybucket. Alaska Dispatch


UAVDrones Will Patrol Canada's Arctic Regions. In Canada's otherwise difficult to reach-and even more difficult to tread through-Arctic territories, new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are opening a door for continuous surveillance. The UAVs, often referred to as "drones," are manufactured by arms developers at Northrop Grumman, and Canadian aerospace defense company L-3 MAS. They're developing a specific type of UAV for Canadian use, the "Polar Hark," designed to fly at high altitudes for long periods of time, and under freezing conditions. "Northrop Grumman and L-3 MAS are combining our formidable strengths to provide a surveillance system to meet requirements defined in the Canada First Defence Strategy," said Duke Dufresne, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman's unmanned systems business, in a press release. The Epoch Times 


hillary clintonSecretary Clinton Promotes Cutting Short-Living Climate Pollutants to Protect Arctic. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued her campaign to cut short-lived climate pollutants during her visit to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, emphasizing the importance of protecting the Arctic, and launching an awareness raising campaign. Observing the effects of climate change on this vulnerable region, Clinton noted, "The waters don't freeze, even in the dead of winter. The ice shelves that have crumbled no longer protect coastlines from erosion. Species are at risk." Health News Digest

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.   


USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)