Today's Congressional Action:
The House and Senate are not in session.
Researchers Say Less Arctic Sea Ice Means More Precipitation.
The Arctic is seeing more precipitation as sea ice diminishes from climate warming, according to a research paper by U.S. and Canada scientists. The study by three Dartmouth College researchers and one from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, concludes the effects from a changed hydrologic cycle is a potential major component of climate change that could create uncertainty in climate predictions. They also say it's too soon to tell whether more precipitation will slow warming or add to it. Alaska Dispatch News
Greenhouse Gas Methane Seeps from Arctic Ice Even in the Depths of Winter.
It turns out that the amount of methane gas escaping from the Arctic each year is far higher than expected. Scientists have found that during the long, cold period each winter, more methane is entering the atmosphere than thought. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that intensifies atmospheric warming and is about 25 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane trapped in the Arctic tundra comes primarily from microbial decomposition of organic matter in soil that thaws seasonally. This methane naturally seeps out of the soil over the course of the year, but scientists worry that climate change could lead to the release of even larger emissions from organic matter that is currently stabilized in a deep, frozen soil layer called permafrost. Science World Report
Do People Who Grow Up in the Arctic See Better in the Dark?
People who live north of the Arctic Circle experience two months each year with no direct sunlight. During the dark winters, the only natural illumination people experience is twilight, which tends to have a bluish color. So in 2007, cognitive neuropsychology specialist Bruno Laeng set out to see how this might affect the vision of these northernmost inhabitants. Laeng and his colleagues gathered about 250 people, mostly undergraduates from the Arctic University of Norway (where Laeng, now at the University of Oslo, was a professor at the time), and split them into two groups: those who were born above the Arctic Circle and those born below it. Both groups took a test measuring color discrimination, in which they had to arrange more than 85 color tabs according to the progression in their hues. Popular Science
U of C Researchers Study Impact of Climate Change on Arctic Wildlife.
Two University of Calgary scientists are looking at how Arctic animals such as muskoxen and caribou are adapting to climate change by studying parasites in a herd of reindeer closer to home. Susan Kutz, an associate professor in the U of C's faculty of veterinary medicine, has been researching the impacts of climate change on the interactions between Arctic wildlife and their pathogens. Calgary Herald
US Senate Advances Arctic Efforts at Port Clarence.
Port Clarence is one small step closer to serving as the nation's Arctic deep draft port. In a press release from Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced the senate passed the Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act. Murkowski said the act would "streamline future infrastructure development and potential uses of Point Spencer." Point Spencer is the spit of land that shield's Port Clarence Bay from the Bering Sea. The natural deep water port is about 120 nautical miles northwest of Nome. Alaska Public Radio
No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.
"Arctic Matters" day at the National Academy of Sciences, January 14th, 2016 (Washington, DC, USA)This symposium is part of an ongoing initiative of the National Academies of Science Polar Research Board to expand public understanding of why the dramatic changes affecting the Arctic region ultimately matter to us all. The agenda features engaging presentations and discussions with top Arctic science and policy experts, and displays and interactive exhibits that illustrate Arctic change and its global impacts. The event is free and open to the public. There are sponsorship opportunities, and a call for exhibitor applications. Audience space is limited, so register today; and please encourage your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to participate-as our goal is to reach well beyond the small circle of specialists who typically attend Arctic-themed events in the DC area.
The U.S. Arctic Research Commission is the primary sponsor of this event.
** New this week** East-West Arctic Cooperation During Times of Global Tension, January 15, 2016.
Can the United States and its allies cooperate with Russia, China and other Asian nations during times of tense relations - or will cooperation on common interests in the Arctic succumb to the more familiar geopolitical tensions of the Cold War era? Stimson will host this event. Vice Admiral Charles Michel, the Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, will deliver a keynote speech on the new Arctic Coast Guard Forum established to promote maritime safety and security cooperation in the Arctic. Following VAdm. Michel's presentation, a panel of experts will discuss the progress and challenges to future East-West cooperation in the Arctic region.
Building upon the preceding Arctic Encounter event in Paris, the third annual Arctic Encounter Symposium (AES) in Seattle, Washington will convene policymakers, industry leaders, and leading experts to confront the leading issues in Arctic policy, innovation, and development. The AES mission is to raise awareness, engage challenges, and develop solutions for the future of a region and a people. The two-day program includes two keynote luncheons, expert plenary sessions, break out sessions, a networking cocktail reception and seated dinner. A closing reception will take place at the conclusion of the program.
2016 Arctic Frontiers, January 24-29, 2015 (Tromso, Norway).The Arctic is a global crossroad between commercial and environmental interests. The region holds substantial natural resources and many actors are investigating ways to utilise these for economic gain. Others view the Arctic as a particularly pristine and vulnerable environment and highlight the need to limit industrial development. Arctic Frontiers 2016 will discuss the balance between resource utilisation and preservation, and between industrial and environmental interests in the Arctic. Envisioning a well-planned, well-governed, and sustainable development in the Arctic, how can improved Arctic stewardship help balance environmental concerns with industrial expansion? How can the industrial footprints from future business activities be minimised? And last, but not least, what role will existing and emerging technologies play in making industrial development profitable and environmentally friendly, securing a sustainable growth scenario for Arctic communities?
** New this week ** Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 8-12, 2016 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA).
The Alaska Forum on the Environment (AFE) is Alaska's largest statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders. The diversity of attendees and comprehensive agenda sets this conference apart from any other. Each year there are over 80 technical breakout sessions and sensational Keynote Events. There will be a full week of sessions on climate change, energy, environmental regulations, cleanup and remediation, fish & wildlife, solid waste, and more.
5th Annual Fletcher Opening Arctic Conference, March 12, 2016. The Opening Arctic Conference builds on the Fletcher School's Warming Arctic International Inquiry series, to bring together high-level thought leaders from across disciplines, Fletcher's hallmark. Staged annually, Fletcher's event continues to address the foreign policy, economic, environmental and security implications of the opening Arctic, while dispelling myths.
14th IATS Seminar, June 19-25, 2016 (Bergen, Norway). The University of Bergen (UiB) is honored to host the 14th IATS Seminar in Bergen, Norway, from Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 June 2016 in co-operation with the Network for University Co-operation Tibet-Norway, an academic network with the universities of Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø as partners. The convenor is Professor Hanna Havnevik, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and Chair of the Network. ** New this week** Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 26-28, 2016 (Fairbanks, Alaska, USA). The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 10th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference.
ICETECH 2016, August 15-18, 2016 (Anchorage, Alaska, USA). The Arctic Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) together with Alaska's Institute of the North (ION) will host the International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice (ICETECH 16), the premiere international conference on ships and structures in ice. The conference will take place in Anchorage starting with an opening icebreaker reception on the evening of Monday, August 15, and concluding in the afternoon on Thursday August 18, with a possible workshop on Arctic EER on Friday August 19.
Inuit traditions are a repository of Inuit culture and a primary expression of Inuit identity. The theme for the 2016 Inuit Studies Conference invites Elders, knowledge-bearers, researchers, artists, policy-makers, students and others to engage in conversations about the many ways in which traditions shape understanding, while registering social and cultural change. The institutional hosts of "Inuit Traditions," Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Nunatsiavut Government, invite you to contribute to an exchange of knowledge to be held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, October 7-10, 2016. Presentations on all aspects of Inuit studies will be welcome.
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