Global Warming Threatens Penguin Populations

A paper published today in Scientific Reports finds that global warming in the Antarctic could have dramatic impacts on Adélie penguins.

The Antarctic, often described as the ‘last pristine place on Earth’ could quickly lose that moniker as a new paper reveals the impact global warming will have on their charismatic mascot, the Adélie penguin.

The paper, published today in Scientific Reports, finds that approximately 30 percent of current Adélie colonies may be in decline by 2060, with approximately 60 percent in decline by 2099.

The University of Delaware interviewed Megan Cimino, lead author and UD graduate, who explained, “Our study used massive amounts of data to run habitat suitability models. From other studies that used actual ground counts — people going and physically counting penguins — and from high resolution satellite imagery, we have global estimates of Adélie penguin breeding locations, meaning where they are present and where they are absent, throughout the entire Southern Ocean. We also have estimates of population size and how their populations have changed over last few decades.”

“When we combined this data with satellite information and future climate projections on sea surface temperature and sea ice, we can look at past and future changes in Adélie penguin habitat suitability,” Cimino, now a postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, explained.

read the full story
Loading Loading More Articles ...