Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
The Green Life: Penguins on the Peninsula

« Green Your Rafting Trip -- Protect Rivers | Main | Garbage Art and the Environment »

July 17, 2008

Penguins on the Peninsula

The four-foot-tall emperors of March of the Penguins fame have company in the struggle to survive on the Antarctic Peninsula. Researchers now report that tens of thousands of the more petite Adélie penguins are freezing to death in unseasonable rainstorms.

Adélie chicks--the little gray troublemakers in the video above--don't sprout water-repellent feathers until they're about 40 days old. Until then, they're likely to develop hypothermia if they get drenched. Living in a place where temperatures have risen more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950--about five times the global average--soaking wet is an increasingly common state for the birds.

But the precipitation problem for Adélies isn't just about rain. According to new research published in the current issue of American Scientist, increasing snowfall represents a second threat.

Although it may seem counterintuitive that a polar species would be adversely affected by snow, Antarctica is a polar desert with low average precipitation, and it is in this environment that Adélie penguins evolved. [...] Spring blizzards during the Adélie penguins' breeding season (November) have increased in frequency and severity. The storms kill large numbers of eggs and chicks when the snow eventually melts and floods the nests.

Want to learn more about Adélies, emperors, and other penguins? Start here.

  • PenguinScience: "Penguin cams," photos, and more from the National Science Foundation
  • Adelie Penguin Profile: Hear a penguin squawk and explore virtual worlds with National Geographic
  • Flipping Brilliant: A book of penguin-inspired advice on fashion, relationships, and social graces  

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b96069e200e553beeab08834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Penguins on the Peninsula:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...