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September 20, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Today, the Senate will resume consideration of the House-passed continuing resolution, to fund government operations after September 30th.   There is not agreement on the legislation and leaders are working to reach a compromise. The House will consider Republican bills to increase the number of visas for highly skilled workers. The House and Senate are trying to recess this week.


US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum Extends Abstract Submittal Period to Friday. The US Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum will be held in Anchorage in November. Forum organizers have extended their call for abstracts through Friday. More information is available here.



russian flagRussia Wants USAID Out. Russia demanded on Tuesday that the U.S. Agency for International Development leave the country after two decades of work, following accusations by President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. agency influenced Russian elections, the Associated Press reported. The accusations focused on aid money distributed by the agency. "We are talking about attempts through the issuing of grants to affect the course of political processes, including elections on various levels and institutions of civil society," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told AP. Government Executive 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaBritish Parliament Calls for Arctic Drilling Ban. British MPs have called for unlimited liability for firms that cause oil spills in the Arctic, and establishment of an Arctic environmental sanctuary, the BBC reported on Thursday. The UK parliament's statement comes after the Environmental Audit Committee concluded spills could cause unprecedented environmental damage. "The MPs want to see a standard pan-Arctic spill response standard, unlimited liability for firms and an Arctic environmental sanctuary," the British parliament said in a statement. RIA Novosti  


Record Minimum for Arctic Sea Ice. Arctic sea ice has reached its minimum extent for the year, setting a record for the lowest summer cover since satellite data collection began. The 2012 extent has fallen to 3.41 million sq km (1.32 million sq mi) - 50% lower than the 1979-2000 average. Arctic sea ice has long been regarded as a sensitive indicator of changes in the climate. BBC News  


Arctic Sea Ice Begins Freezing Again. Wednesday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado announced that the sea ice is starting to freeze up again in the Arctic Ocean. Unless some big winds come up, it looks as if the biggest melt-back of the sea ice happened on Sunday, Sept. 16. It was a record. Alaska Public Radio 


Climate Change Threatens Nature From Coffee to Arctic Fox - Forum. Climate change is a threat to everything from coffee plantations to Arctic foxes and even a moderate rise in world temperatures will be damaging for plants and animals in some regions, experts said on Wednesday. Habitats such as coral reefs or the Arctic region were among the most vulnerable to global warming, scientists said at a conference in Lillehammer, south Norway, organized by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Almost 200 governments agreed in 2010 to a goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, seen as a threshold for dangerous changes such as droughts, floods, desertification and rising sea levels. AlertNet


Russian-American CensusRussian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) Mission Completes Work in the Pacific Arctic. On the 16th of September, the ninth expedition of the Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) mission completed its work in the Pacific Arctic. The 2012 mission carried out a multidisciplinary set of repeated biophysical observations from the Bering Strait to the northern shelf break of the Northwestern Chukchi Sea . Work in July and mid-August succeeded the servicing of the Bering Strait mooring array. Accompanying the work in Russia Territorial Waters were two members of the Russian Border Guard Service. The vessel, the R/V Khromov, owned by Roshydromet and operated by Heritage Expeditions of New Zealand worked out of the ports of Nome, Alaska, and Anadyr and Provedenia, Chukotka. In late August a team of 47 U.S. and Russian scientists joined the expedition to carry out repeat observations of the state of the biological and physical parts of the Pacific-Arctic Climate system. In addition, biophysical exploration of the northern-most part of the Chukchi Sea and its Shelf Break was undertaken while the vessel was located within the sea ice cover. This included biological and geological sampling of the benthos, observations of fish, plankton and marine mammals. Fifty four CTD's were taken. The vessel worked in both the Russian and the US EEZ's of the Chukchi Sea. RUSALCA is supported by NOAA Research and NOAA 's National Marine Fisheries Sevice and the Russian Academy of Sciences, with additional funding from the National Science Foundation, Roshydromet, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Hydrographic Arm of the Russian Federation Navy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. RUSALCA contributes data to the Distributed Biological Observatory and to the Arctic Council Endorsed Circumpolar Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. For more information on NOAA's Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic see here.

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.J. Res 117, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Rep. Rogers, cloture invoked in the Senate)

Future Events                      


Debate on Arctic Challenges Set for Brussels, October 4-5, 2012.The challenges facing the Arctic during a time of change and global warming uncertainty will be the subject of frank and lively debate between policymakers, Ambassadors from European Union and Arctic nations, polar scientists, and representatives industry and Arctic indigenous peoples groups, at the 2012 Arctic Futures Symposium, taking place in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. High-level speakers include Prince Albert II of Monaco, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders, and Charles Emmerson, Chatham House Senior Research Fellow on Energy, Environment and Resources, and author of The Future History of the Arctic.  Guest speakers will also include Sweden's Arctic Ambassador Gustav Lind, Greenland's Deputy Foreign Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor to Shell's Arctic programme, Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Prof. David Vaughan and Lars-Anders Baer, chair of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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 museums 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.  


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.

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