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May 2, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess.


AGU- Kenny, BaltonThe American Geophysical Unionthrough May 3rd, hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. Yesterday, Admiral Kenny and Ambassador Balton spoke.


Arctic Ambitions: Commercial Development of the Arctic, May 2, 2012. World Trade Center Alaska and the Institute of the North will hold a conference focusing on connections between international trade, Arctic policy issues, and resource development.



Arctic Security Report "Climate Change & International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether." A new report published by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, first-authored by Canada's Rob Huebert. A pdf of the report can be downloaded here. And see news item below, in AK Dispatch. 



ARCUS 2012 Board Meeting. Details here



Coast Guard SealCoast Guard to Participate in US Navy and Canadian Joint-Forces Exercises. The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Canadian Joint Task Force Atlantic will participate in a joint-forces exercise scheduled for May 2-9, 2012, in Groton, Conn. The exercise, titled Frontier Sentinel, will begin in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and conclude in Groton and New London, Conn.  It will be limited to specific areas in New London Harbor and on the Thames River, and should not significantly impact vessel traffic or harbor and river operations. The focus of Frontier Sentinel is the maritime homeland security of both the U.S. and Canada.  The exercise will allow Coast Guard, Navy and Canadian forces to train together to handle a security-related drill during a full-scale live event and may include mine counter measures and migrant vessel scenarios.  Participants will include a number of U.S. and Canadian military personnel and units, as well as other government department organizations. US Coast Guard  


Arctic Sea-Ice Loss Didn't Happen By Chance. The ongoing rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is often interpreted as the canary in the mine for anthropogenic climate change. In a new study, scientists have now systematically examined the validity of this claim. They find that neither natural fluctuations nor self-acceleration can explain the observed Arctic sea-ice retreat. Instead, the recent evolution of Arctic sea ice shows a strong, physically plausible correlation with the increasing greenhouse gas concentration. For Antarctic sea ice, no such link is found -- for a good reason. Science Daily 


Norway Whalers Take First Whales of Hunting Season. Norwegian whale hunters have harpooned the first three whales of the year, nearly a month after the controversial hunting season began, the country's Fishermen's Sales Organisation said Wednesday. "Three whales were taken off Bear Island on Sunday," Per Rolandsen, of the sales organisation's division in Norway's Arctic Lofoten archipelago, told AFP. Asia Online 


polar bear iceCan Polar Bears Keep Their Heads Above Water in a Warming World? Polar bears are classified as marine mammals, like a seal or a walrus, which might come as a surprise given that they're usually pictured on land. But polar bears spend a lot of their time in the waters of the Arctic, fishing or swimming among the sea ice. They may look awkward in the water, but no creature with paws is a better swimmer. They'd better be. Arctic sea ice is declining fast, robbing the polar bear of its prime habitat and forcing them to swim longer and longer distances to reach solid ground. No other animal seems to be such a direct victim of warming, which is one reason why the polar bear has emerged as the symbol of climate change. (Another is that they look cute and cuddly-a lot more so than the Panamanian golden frog-although up close that can be a different story.) It's a simple narrative to grasp: carbon warms the climate, Arctic sea ice melts and baby polar bears drown. Time 


defense spendingArctic Military Buildup Linked to Climate Change by New Report. Is the Arctic being militarized? As nations and corporations look north to unlock natural resources in the melting Arctic Ocean, military buildup is accelerating at the pole, too. Indeed, according to a new report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, militarization has been going on for  years -- "the starkest example yet of the way climate change directly affects international security." The report looks at how focused governments are on their northern borders, where climate change is occurring at twice the global rate. It also examines evolving Arctic policy. Alaska Dispatch 


Nessie of the North: Is Alaska's Iliamna Lake Monster a Huge Sleeper Shark? For years, legendary tales from Scotland and Western Alaska described large animals or monsters thought to live in Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna. But evidence has been mounting that the Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna monsters may, in fact, be sleeper sharks. Two exceptionally large Arctic sharks ply northern waters - Greenland sharks and the Pacific sleeper sharks. During the last few years, scientists have documented Greenland sharks using the St. Lawrence Seaway, lending further credence to the hypothesis that some sharks can survive in freshwater. Bull sharks are also known to swim in fresh water, but this species needs warmer waters. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


[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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