Arctic Update Header
March 26, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider several non-Arctic provisions.  The Senate may consider energy tax and postal service legislation.


The Week at a Glance: March 26-30, 2012. The House will consider a short-term extension of surface transportation programs. Later in the week, the House will consider its FY 2013 budget resolution. The Senate will consider energy tax breaks and a postal service overhaul. Congressional Quarterly


president signingObama Tells Russia He'll Have 'More Flexibility' After the Election. President Obama privately told Russia he will have "more flexibility" to deal with missile defense after the election in a conversation that was picked up Monday by live microphones. Speaking to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ahead of a global nuclear security summit in South Korea, Obama asked for "space" and "time" to deal with the missile defense issue.  "Yeah. I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you," Medvedev said. The Hill 


Northern Lights: First-Ever Measurement of Auroral Turbulence Using a Nanosatellite Radar Receiver. Researchers from SRI International and the University of Michigan have taken the first-ever measurement of naturally occurring auroral turbulence recorded using a nanosatellite radar receiver. Science Daily


NRL Scientists Optimize Arctic Sea Ice Data Products. Scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Marine Geosciences Division are assisting NASA, the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) and the European Space Agency (ESA) in developing more accurate monitoring and sustainable forecasting of Arctic sea ice. Recent dramatic changes in the characteristics of the Arctic sea ice cover have sparked interest and concern from a wide range of disciplines. The demand for an improved ability to monitor and forecast changes in sea ice cover is driven by diverse and varying priorities to include socioeconomics, maritime safety and security, and resource management, as well as basic research science. Satellites provide an important and cost effective platform for instruments designed to monitor basin-wide changes in the volume of ice cover and snow pack depths. The primary focus of NRL and NASA is to collect data to aid in the validation and calibration of these data sets to further optimize instrument suites and the development of predictive sea ice models. Market Watch 


Citing Near-Zero Demand, Airline Ground High Arctic Service: Canadian North Sells Only Three Passenger Bookings. After selling only three passenger bookings, the Canadian North airline will cancel a trial run through the High Arctic that would have operated April 6 to April 14 in competition with First Air. "We are very sorry to report that due to an underwhelming response to our offering, we have decided not to operate these flights," Tracy Medve, president of Canadian North, said March 22 in an email to Tununiq MLA Joe Enook, Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk and Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliot. Until the 1990s, Resolute Bay enjoyed a jet service leveraged by the Polaris lead-zinc mine at Little Cornwallis Island. Arctic Bay benefitted from a jet service used to fly workers and supplies in and out of the Nanisivik mine. Nunatsiaq Online


polar bear iceCaptivity Could Help Polar Bears Survive Global Warming Assault, Some Zoos Say. Polar bears are ideally suited to life in the Arctic: Their hair is without pigment, blending in with the snow; their heavy, strongly curved claws allow them to clamber over blocks of ice and snow and grip their prey securely; and their rough pads keep them from slipping. The one thing they cannot survive is the disintegration of the ice. They range across the sea ice far from shore to hunt fatty seals, whose blubber sustains them. Heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuel are making the Arctic warm twice as fast as lower latitudes, and Arctic summer sea ice could disappear by 2030, according to climate models. Washington Post


Arctic Politics: Cosy Amid the Thaw: The Arctic Council Works Well-because of the region's riches. It was once a backwater, both bureaucratically and literally. Not any more. "The Arctic is hot," says Gustaf Lind, the Swedish ambassador who will chair the Arctic Council meeting in Stockholm on March 28th-29th. The other members are America, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Russia, plus six non-voting representatives of indigenous Arctic peoples such as Sami and Inuit. The top of the world is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of it: water in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Norway's Svalbard archipelago, is roughly 3.5C warmer than a century ago. When dark, absorptive seawater replaces bright, reflective ice, it retains more heat. That speeds global warming. Largely as a result, the Arctic now has less sea-ice, for the time of year, than for millennia. Most scientists expect the Arctic Ocean to begin to be largely ice-free in summer sometime between 2020 and 2050. The Economist


Polar bearCan Polar Bears Put Climate Change Back on the Agenda. For various reasons, the climate crisis has disappeared from the political dialogue. This is unlikely to change in 2012, unless polar bears put it back on the agenda. Polar bears are running out of places to live due to climate change, which is warming their habitat in the Arctic - as it is in the other cold region where they don't live: the Antarctic.  In fact, this warming is occurring even more dramatically than even some of the most dire projections, and now there is a discussion about whether we can even preserve the species. Washington Post


Arctic Tourism Doubles. The national park "Russian Arctic," located on the northern parts of Novaya Zemlya and on the islands of Franz-Josef Land, will be receiving 14 cruise vessels this year, twice as many as in its opening season in 2011. Barents Observer


Arctic MapArctic Council Meets in Sweden, Climate Change Expected to be Hot Topic. Officials from the US, Canada, Norway, Iceland, Russia, Finland and Denmark will be in Stockholm to talk about the Arctic this week. When Sweden took over the Arctic Council's chairmanship a year ago, expectations were high that environmental issues would get special attention. Partly because Sweden said they would. And partly because the country has no major vested interests -- no Arctic coastline and no claim to the region's potentially huge oil and gas reserves. So has the last year lived up to expectations? Alaska Dispatch


It Squiggles! Scientists Discover New Species in Alaska. Scientists have discovered a new variety of water flea in a roadside pond on the Seward Peninsula outside of Nome, suggesting that life in the Alaskan Arctic may be far ecologically mysterious than previously thought. This tiny crustacean - now named Eurycercus beringi - was identified during a multi-year, trans-continental investigation of water fleas that squiggle through small lakes across Alaska, Siberia and other Northern Hemisphere locales. The creatures fill a niche near the bottom of the freshwater food chain, providing summer food for birds while munching on even smaller life that erupts during the intense, brief Arctic summer. Alaska Dispatch


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday. 

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.


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, 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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