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March 12, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider surface transportation legislation.  The House is not in session.




This Week: March 12-16, 2012. The Senate is expected to complete work on its surface transportation bill. The House is in recess this week. The Senate is expected to hold a number of committee hearings on FY 2013 appropriations and the FY 2013 Department of Defense Authorization. Congressional Quarterly


ChinaflagChina to Conduct First Northern Sea Route Expedition. China will conduct its fifth Arctic expedition between July and September via the Northeast Passage, the country's first attempt through the shipping route also known as the Northern Sea Route, Xinhua reported on Monday. The expedition aboard the Xuelong (Snow Dragon) icebreaker will carry out oceanic, atmospheric, sea-ice and marine life research in the Arctic region, Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration, said. "If the expedition goes according to plan, it will also be the first time for a Chinese icebreaker to reach the Barents Sea," Liu said. RIANovosti 


Dogs Take Lead in Sniffing Out Arctic Oil: Shell has been training a dachshund and two border collies to detect oil spills beneath snow and ice. When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific. The dogs' ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell - and other oil companies and government research organizations - in preparation for the industry's entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the northwest coast of Alaska in June. The project, conducted by independent Norwegian researchers Sintef off the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway in 2009, set out to find a low-tech fix to a nightmare scenario for Arctic drilling: how to clean up a spill in remote waters? The Guardian


NATO Holds Naval Games in the Arctic. The 'Cold Response' 2012 maneuvers are underway in the Arctic, bringing together 16,000 servicemen and a large number of warships from 14 NATO countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands. Sweden is also taking part in the drill along with the NATO countries. The participants in the war games, which will last until March 21st, will be practicing interaction in case of an armed conflict and joint operations in a terrorist attack. The Voice of Russia's Mikhail Aristov has more details. Terrorist organizations exist in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and North Africa but there are none in the Arctic. Igor Korotchenko of National Security Journal, comments. The Voice of Russia 


Finland to Design Advanced Icebreaker. Aker Arctic Technology of Finland will be joining a team led by STX Canada Marine, to design the Canadian Coast Guard's future flagship, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. Working with STX Canada Marine, Aker Arctic will be responsible for assessing ice loads, developing the hull form and structure of the ship, the conceptual design of the propulsion system, and providing the winterization principles to be used.The John G Diefenbaker, named after a former prime minister, will be able to operate autonomously for 270 days in the Arctic, over a larger area and in more difficult conditions than any of Canada's current icebreakers. New Europe 


Todd Park Named New U.S. Chief Technology Officer. I'm very excited that President Obama today is appointing Todd Park as the new U.S. Chief Technology Officer, with the important task of applying the newest technology and latest advances to make the Federal government work better for the American people. For nearly three years, Todd has served as CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he was a hugely energetic force for positive change. He led the successful execution of an array of breakthrough initiatives, including the creation of, the first website to provide consumers with a comprehensive inventory of public and private health insurance plans available across the Nation by zip code in a single, easy-to-use tool. On his first full day in office, President Obama created the position of "Chief Technology Officer" to help modernize a Federal government relying too heavily on 20th century technology, and to better use technological tools to address a wide range of national challenges. In his role as U.S. CTO, Todd will continue the work of Aneesh Chopra, the Nation's first Chief Technology Officer, who stepped down last month after an inspired and productive three years on the job. The White House 


ScienceFrance and Iceland United in Arctic Research. Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Össur Skarphéšinsson, attended a meeting with Michel Rocard, former Socialist Prime Minister of France and a special ambassador for the preservation of the Antarctic environment. French and Icelandic scientists are collaborting to share research facilities in Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic, as well as those in Antarctica. France will send its own specialists to conduct Arctic research in Akureyri. Both nations want to establish increased partnership between the University of Akureyri and the Pierre and Marie CURIE University in Paris. Iceland Review


In History, Climate Skepticism Begins with Climate Scientists. The world's pioneering climate scientists doubted humans were causing the changes they noticed in the Arctic, a Swedish environmental historian said in Chicago Friday-and so climate scientists themselves were among the first to resist emerging evidence of anthropogenic climate change. Before there was global warming theory, there was the "polar warming theory," Sverker Sörlin, a professor of environmental history at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, told about 25 people gathered at Chicago's Wilder House, headquarters of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. Forbes


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally covered on Friday. 

Future Events                                   



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  


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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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