Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Penguins In Peril As Climate Warms

Date:
December 15, 2007
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
The penguin population of Antarctica is under pressure from global warming. Four populations of penguins that breed on the Antarctic continent -- Adélie, Emperor, Chinstrap and Gentoo -- are under escalating pressure. For some, global warming is taking away precious ground on which penguins raise their young. For others, food has become increasingly scarce because of warming in conjunction with overfishing.

Aptenodytes forsteri Emperor penguin Adults and chick against blue ice background Dawson-Lambton Glacier, Antarctica.
Credit: Copyright WWF / Fritz Polking

The penguin population of Antarctica is under pressure from global warming, according to a WWF report.

The report, Antarctic Penguins and Climate Change, shows that the four populations of penguins that breed on the Antarctic continent — Adélie, Emperor, Chinstrap and Gentoo — are under escalating pressure. For some, global warming is taking away precious ground on which penguins raise their young. For others, food has become increasingly scarce because of warming in conjunction with overfishing.

"The Antarctic penguins already have a long march behind them," says Anna Reynolds, Deputy Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme.

"Now it seems these icons of the Antarctic will have to face an extremely tough battle to adapt to the unprecedented rate of climate change."

The Antarctic Peninsula is warming five times faster than the average rate of global warming. The vast Southern Ocean has warmed all the way down to a depth of 3000m.

Sea ice — ice that forms from sea water — covers 40% less area than it did 26 years ago off the West Antarctic Peninsula. This decrease has led to reduced numbers of krill, the main source of food for chinstrap penguins. The number of Chinstraps decreased by as much as 30% to 66% in some colonies, as less food has made it more difficult for the young to survive. It's the same story for Gentoo penguins, who are increasingly dependent on the declining krill stocks as overfishing kills off their usual food sources.

The Emperor penguin, the largest and most majestic penguin in the world, has seen some of its colonies halved in size over the past half century. Warmer winter temperatures and stronger winds mean that the penguins have to raise their chicks on increasingly thinner sea ice. For many years, sea ice has broken off early and many eggs and chicks have been blown away before they were ready to survive on their own.

In the northwestern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, where warming has been the most dramatic, populations of Adélie penguins have dropped by 65% over the past 25 years. Not only has food become scarcer with the disappearance of sea ice, but the Adélies’ warm-loving cousins, the Gentoos and Chinstraps, have also "invaded" the region.

Warmer temperatures mean that the atmosphere can hold more moisture, which in turn brings more snow. Scientists are worried for the Adélie penguin, which needs land that is free of snow and ice to raise their young, and is likely to lose out to its warm-loving cousins.

"The food web of Antarctica, and thus the survival of penguins and many other species, is bound up in the future of the sea ice," says Jame Leape, Director-General of WWF International.

"After such a long march to Bali, ministers must now commit to sharp reductions in carbon emissions for industrialized countries, to protect Antarctica and safeguard the health of the planet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "Penguins In Peril As Climate Warms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213203604.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2007, December 15). Penguins In Peril As Climate Warms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213203604.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "Penguins In Peril As Climate Warms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213203604.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins