British Antarctic Survey: Harsh Antarctic Sea Ice Threatens Emperor Penguins With Starvation
Every sane, half-way educated person knows that a warmer planet is better than a colder one. During the ice ages, when CO2 concentration was just 180 ppm, much life on the planet stood on the brink of extinction. When the planet was a hot-house and CO2 was over 1000 ppm, the Earth was a literal garden of Eden teeming with life. Hat-tip: reader Manfred.
Meet Knut the emperor penguin (center)! Record sea ice in the Antarctic due to South Pole cooling means poor little penguins like Knut are facing starvation. Photo credit: Ian Duffy from UK, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
So it’s no surprise that the British Antarctic Survey tells us in a fascinating report that the emperor penguin faces starvation should Antarctic sea ice grow, as it is doing right now.
The British Antarctic Survey writes at the very end of its report:
They have a high survival rate compared to other penguins, with an average of 95% surviving the year. However, if it is a harsh sea-ice year, many chicks will die of starvation. Emperors are the least common Antarctic penguin, with only about 200,000 breeding pairs.”
Antarctica has seen a whole bunch of harsh years recently, and it doesn’t look like things are going to improve anytime soon.
Of course the extra sea ice we’ve been seeing at the South Pole doesn’t mean these dignified birds will become extinct any time soon. Like polar bears, they’ve survived far worse conditions. But it does mean the weaker ones aren’t going to fare as well and some will have to make an agonizing, early departure from Earth.
Already I’m seeing emperor penguins falling from the sky to their death! Must be those damn man-made aerosols cooling the southern hemisphere.
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