CLIMATE CHANGE THREAT TO PENGUINS

Duke-MOOC

By John von Radowitz,

Press Association Science Correspondent

 

Penguins are in peril because of extreme environmental conditions linked to climate change, research has shown.Two new studies highlight the plight of penguin colonies trying to cope with the effects of global warming in Argentina and Antarctica.At both locations, the beguiling birds face an uncertain future.
Climate change is killing chicks from the world’s biggest colony of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo, Argentina, by increasing the rate of drenching rainstorms and heatwaves, say scientists.
Meanwhile Adelie penguins on Ross Island, Antarctica, are finding it harder to feed as melting sea ice fragments to form giant icebergs.
Protected only by a downy coat, the Magellanic chicks can be left to struggle and die when rainstorms hit their colony.At other times, faced with extreme heat, their lack of waterproofing means they cannot cool off by taking a dip.Dr Ginger Rebstock, from the University of Washington, US – who took part in a 27 year-long study of the 400,000-strong Argentinian colony, said: “We’re going to see years where almost no chicks survive if climate change makes storms bigger and more frequent during vulnerable times of the breeding season, as climatologists predict.” Continue reading