What Is Global Warming? It’s The Death Knell For Antarctica’s Penguins

It’s been reported that global warming was on the agenda of the meeting with U.S. President Obama, Mexico’s President Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau — who met in Canada on Wednesday, a timely affair around the release of a new study which shows that the habitat for Adélie penguins in Antarctica is disappearing.

The study was published in Nature in their “Scientific Reports” section on June 29, where it also suggests that global warming will likely cause the penguin population to be decimated by 2099.

The report says that the precipitation and the snow melting causes flooding of the penguin nests which they try to keep dry. The flooding drowns eggs and chicks, causing the population to decline in large numbers.

Global warming increase is at it's breaking point in Antarctica. In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, a Chinstrap penguin stands on a rock in Robert Island, in the South Shetland Islands archipelago, Antarctica. Antarctica may hold clues to answering humanity’s most basic questions. It is the continent of mystery. Strange, forbidding and most of all desolate, the continent was first seen 195 years ago and it is still mostly unexplored. [Image by Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo]The study also refers to the krill, which is a major food source for the penguins, and whether global warming would cause that supply to decline. The study also points out that it has already seen the impact it has on other food supplies.

“Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum), another component of Adélie penguin’s diet, have declined coincident with WAP climate changes and could also influence penguin demographics such as breeding success, chick mass and survival.”

They explain that satellite analysis was used to determine the multi-decadal changes of warming events and how their data was checked cross-checked with other data to reduce mistakes.

The study also reveals that global warming in Antarctica is asymmetric, “with cooling in parts of the continent and warming along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP).”


Satellite-driven data allowed them to create models they refer to as austral-summer chick-rearing habitat suitability (CRHS). These models allow them to make comparisons with more historical observations.

The paper specifically targets various sections in Antarctica where they show and compare decades of changes along the WAP as opposed to other areas like Ross Sea and Marguerite Bay.

What this means is that global warming is causing these penguins to relocate from areas for CRHS, and from this, they’re able to determine and possibly even predict, where in Antarctica they could populate more.

“CRHS in the Cape Adare region is also projected to increase in the future. At Cape Adare, SST is projected to increase from about −1 °C to 0 °C and SIC is projected to decrease from ~20% to ~10% by 2100, with these changes in SST and SIC shifting towards peak suitability (see response curves, Supplemental. The northeastern Antarctic Peninsula appears to be a more favorable environment than the southwestern Antarctic Peninsula. From 1981–2010, the South Shetland Islands and the WAP had a similar number of novel climate years and mean CRHS but CRHS improved in the South Shetland Islands. During this time, the more northerly South Sandwich and South Orkney Islands experienced no years with novel climate, higher mean CRHS and improved CRHS compared to southerly islands and the WAP.”

The new study also focused on the specific changes within penguin colonies which appeared to be affected by the warming of the region as a result of the chain reaction of global temperature changes.

Global warming finally puts a clock on the existence of Antarctica's penguins. Adélie penguins seen by tourists at Brown Bluff on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on Dec. 12, 2005. [Image by Brian Witte/AP Photo]From this, the paper’s author, Megan Cimino, has determined that while some of the warming has been beneficial for rocky breeding grounds, that the area has warmed too much and the environment might have reached its tipping point.

Many sources who are reporting on this study have made the comparison to another study made in 2009, where it was said that the emperor penguin could face extinction by 2100.

The argument over global warming legislation has already evolved during the last few years of President Obama’s second-term, with the attention brought to the Paris Climate Agreement in December of last year, as reported by the Inquisitr, and the signing of the agreement which includes the European Union and 177 states, on June 19, 2016, where a consensus has developed that sees global warming as a concern.

[Image by Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo]