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US Arctic Research Commission Daily Update Feb 5, 2013


Today's Events

The House begins consideration of legislation to a bill require the president to submit a budget that shows eventual balance. The Senate is not in session Tuesday and Wednesday while the parties hold their policy retreats.


Cause of Beak Deformities Continue to Elude Researchers. It's been nearly 15 years since people started noticing a lot of Black-capped Chickadees in Southcentral Alaska suffering from overgrown beaks, a deformity that interferes with a bird's ability to feed and preen. Although formal research efforts to study the epidemic were launched in 1999, and remain ongoing, it's still not known what's causing beaks to grown faster than normal. And now, the deformities are showing up in other species and regions in the US and Europe. Alaska Dispatch

US Late to Arctic Resources Race But Canadians Offer an Assist. For years now, Alaska lawmakers have lamented the seeming lack of progress in developing the US Arctic, as countries like Norway and Russia forge ahead with resource exploration and development and building infrastructure to take advantage of the economic potential of the world's northern reaches. Now, some Arctic policy experts are calling for increased cooperation between the US and Canada in developing North America's Arctic resources-but where to begin? Alaska Dispatch 

Hunting of Declining Canadian Caribou Herd Raises Concern. New tensions are surfacing in Labrador, Canada over reports that animals in a fragile caribou herd were hunted just days after an aboriginal summit focused on protecting its future. Sources said dozens of George River caribou were recently killed by Innu hunters in the Border Beacon area in northwestern Labrador. The hunt happened just days after a meeting in Kuujjuaq, Quebec, to talk about the declining herd, the population of which has fallen more than 90 percent in about a decade. Alaska Dispatch  

Even Without a Budget on Budget Day. Budget day came without a fiscal 2014 budget proposal on Monday, but congressional Republicans didn't let the occasion go by without a sharp attack against the White House on its priorities and its inability to complete a federal spending plan by the required deadline. "This was supposed to be the day that the president submitted his budget to the Congress. But it's not coming. It's gonna be late. And some reports say that it could be as long as a month late. I think that's too bad. The economy could use presidential leadership right now," Speaker John A. Boehner said in a floor speech Monday. Congressional Quarterly 

China Dips Toes in Icy Arctic Waters. Since the 1990s China has been gingerly dipping its toes in Arctic waters, but it would seem they are aiming for the cold plunge. The Xue Long (the world's largest icebreaker) has just been on a summer 2012 tour to Iceland that put Norway on edge (remember China and Norway are already having a tiff over Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize). The world is watching China's advance on the Arctic very closely, as the icy continent is a place running amok with natural resources and territorial disputes. China is just looking around it says, checking out the potential for shipping lanes, and keeping their finger on the pulse of global warming, but their activities in Greenland suggest otherwise. They have teamed up with the Brits (who better to advise on making unsubstantiated territorial claims) to develop a giant iron ore mine outside the capital Nuuk, a total investment of $2.3 billion. Greenland has welcomed the investment to explore the natural minerals being exposed by the melting ice.

Obama to Call for a Second Delay in Sequestration Budget Cuts.

President Obama will call on Congress to delay the automatic sequestration budget cuts yet again. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Twitter that Obama will deliver a statement today. Tuesday demanding Congress "to act to avoid the sequester & reduce the deficit in a balanced way." The Associated Press reported that White House officials said Obama will ask for "tens of billions of dollars in short-term spending cuts and tax revenue" to delay sequestration, which is now scheduled to begin March 1. Federal Times

Legislative Action 

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      

Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.

The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots). 

The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.

28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. 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. 

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:http://www.apecs.is/apecs-meetings-a-events/assw-2013.

American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."

Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.

International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


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