60 Percent of Some Antarctic Penguin Colonies Could Decline by 2100, Study Says


Image: Megan Cimino
Climate change is pushing Antarctica’s penguins to the brink.
More than half of the current colonies of Adélie penguin, a species that’s found across the Antarctic mainland, could be in decline by the year 2100, says a new study, suggesting a future for Antarctica that looks much different than today.

Von Kate Lunau | MOTHERBOARD

But there’s also good news. The research, which was published Wednesday in Scientific Reports, notes that some parts of Antarctica that could function as a “refuge” for Adélie penguins (which are smaller than Emperors, the other „true“ Antarctic penguin species) to the year 2100 and beyond, suggesting that, in at least some parts of the continent, these aquatic, flightless birds will survive.

“This is a remote sensing study,” explained lead author Megan Cimino, who recently wrapped up her doctoral degree at the University of Delaware, and is now based at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego. Using satellite data and global climate model projections, she told me, “we looked at how climate change can affect the Adélie penguin: how it has in the past, and how it might in the future.”

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