We have some good news and some bad news…
Climate change has created a paradise for some pack ice penguin colonies and a purgatory for others, but the long-term fate of all Adélie and emperor penguins seems sealed, as relentless warming eventually pulls their rug of sea ice out from under them.
Adelie penguins colonies - located at the northern fringe of Antarctica, in the Antarctic Peninsula - have collapsed as an intrusion of warmer seawater shortens the annual winter sea ice season.
In the past three decades, the Adélie population on the peninsula, has fallen by almost 90 percent. The peninsula’s only emperor colony is now extinct.
But in the Ross Sea a reverse trend is occurring: Winter sea ice cover is growing, and Adélie populations are actually thriving. The Cape Royds colony grew more than 10 percent every year.
Across Ross Island, the Adélie colony at Cape Crozier (one of the largest known, with an estimated 230,000 breeding pairs) has increased by about 20 percent.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: breeding, colony, extinct, penguin, population, weather