Arctic Update Header
March 21, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider small business legislation. The House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules. No Arctic legislation is expected to be considered on either Floor today.


capitalGOP Budget Sets Up Appropriations Fight. As House and Senate budget writers put together long-term plans that stake out sharply divergent goals, appropriators at both ends of the Capitol said they are prepared to begin work using different spending levels for the coming fiscal year, all but guaranteeing a new round of fights between the chambers later this year. The House Budget Committee is scheduled to begin the process Wednesday with its markup of the fiscal 2013 budget resolution released by Chairman Paul D. Ryan. Action on the House Floor is expected next week. Congressional Quarterly  


Finland Secures Its Presence in Murmansk. The Centre will render information assistance to businessmen eyeing international cooperation within the Barents region. Barents Center Finland appoints Finpro as its official representative in North West of Russia. The Northern Finnish cities - Oulu, Rovaniemi, Tornio-Kemi, Kokkola, Raahe and Kemijarvi, counties and universities formed Barents Center Finland exactly one year ago. The main aim was to promote Finnish Arctic competence in mining, on-and off-shore, energy efficiency, energy saving, water purification, waste water and waste management within the Russian Barents area. Barents Nova


Sea-level Rise Will Cost $2 Trillion. As the seas rise, so will the costs associated with them. The impact of climate change on oceans alone could cost $2 trillion by the end of the century, according to a report by the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden. The report is part of a book, Valuing the Ocean, which is being compiled by the SEI for the UN's Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June. New Scientist 


Arctic Drilling Review Exposes Gaps in Northern Training: Aboriginal northerners want more from frontier exploration. Last September, the National Energy Board wrapped up its 16-month long Arctic Drilling Review with a five-day roundtable discussion in the Northwest Territories town of Inuvik. In amongst the presentations by industry, government, and even local high school students, one man asked a question about something very important to communities in the Beaufort Delta region where future Arctic offshore work in Canada will inevitably take place. "The training that usually comes to our communities is at the low end, so we end up with the low-end paying jobs," said Joshua Oliktoak. "It would be nice if we could get some real training into the communities at the community level, where it will be successful. And it would be nice if we could get some training where it's going to help us get work after the job is done within the region." Alberta Oil Magazine 


permafrostInsight: Shurb Height Affects Future Arctic Climate and Permafrost. The boreal trees and shrubs that are already invading the tundra regions of the north are expected to expand their territory even further as climate-change progresses. A study recently published in Environmental Research Letters indicates that invading shrubs will increasingly warm the northern high latitudes at a rate that depends on the height of the plants. "Changes in abundance and size of shrubs are frequently observed in these regions," says lead author Celine Bonfils of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, US. "Small shrubs are already present in most tundra areas, ready to grow under more favourable conditions but until now, most climate model studies have only focused on the climate effects induced by a complete tundra-to-forest conversion." Environmental Research Web 


antifreeze fishNorway Leads Calls for EU Ban on Fish Discards: Fishing minister backs campaign to end waste amid fierce opposition from some member states. Giving up the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish at sea is not only possible, but can result in greater profits for fishermen, according to the fisheries minister in Norway, which has banned the practice. Up to two-thirds of the fish caught in some European waters are thrown back dead because of the way the EU's common fisheries policy works. Proposals to end the waste have faced opposition from fishing groups and some EU member states, several of which attempted to scupper the ban at a meeting in Brussels on Monday. In the end, the attempt to block a ban on discards did not materialise, in part because of strong opposition from the public and high-profile campaigns such as FishFight initiative spearheaded by the TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. But the issue will be discussed by European legislators several times this year before going to a final vote. The Guardian 


Fiber Optic Cables Being Laid Beneath Arctic Ocean Thanks to Receding Ice. Melting ice in the Arctic may not be so good for polar bears, but it's definitely useful when it comes to laying down fibre optic cables beneath the ocean. Three cable projects are looking to do just this, utilizing the reduced ice between August and October to lay down cables that connect Tokyo to London. The Arctic Fiber project, for instance, will span 15,600 kilometers, running through the Northwest Passage of the Arctic Ocean. It will feature optical amplifiers to boost signal strength every 50 to 100 kilometers, and is expected to reduce latency between England and Japan from 230 milliseconds to 168ms. A second project called Arctic Link will run a similar route, spanning 15,840km, while the Russian Optical Trans-Arctic Submarine Cable System is expected to run 14,700km along the Russian coast. These cables come with their own sets of problems - they require ice breakers to clear the way and polar-ice rated ships to actually lay down the cable - and they're expensive, with estimated costs running between $600 million and $1.5 billion each. The Verge 


International Polar Year Conference: From Knowledge to Action. Press Registration is now open for the forthcoming International Polar Year Conference: From Knowledge to Action to be held from 22-27 April 2012, Montréal, Canada. The IPY 2012 From Knowledge to Action Conference will be one of the largest and most important scientific conferences for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. Keynote presentations, thought-provoking panel discussions and workshops will provide the focal points for translating polar knowledge into actions that will enable people to live in, adapt to, or benefit from, our changing world.


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday. 

Future Events                                   


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  


usarc logo large

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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