It would appear then that slightly increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature stasis over 20 years have done absolutely nothing to threaten the Penguins


By —— Bio and Archives--February 7, 2019

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PENGUINS: GONE TODAY--HERE TOMORROWIn 2008, historian Meredith Hooper published her book: “The Ferocious Summer. Adélie Penguins and the warming of Antarctica.” (Greystone Books, Vancouver, British Columbia.)

We are told that “This book is a fascinating and alarming report from the frontlines of global warming” and not surprisingly we find the following message on the book’s front cover from serial alarmist Dr. David Suzuki:

“Like canaries in a coal mine, penguins present an undeniable and urgent warning of the devastating effect of climate change on the planet. This timely book must be read.”


The Sound of Extinction, in Antarctica

So I read it.

One chapter in particular caught my attention with the heading “The Sound of Extinction, in Antarctica.”

Hooper writes:

“But here on the Antarctic Peninsula rocks lay naked, newly revealed, stripped of snow. Glaciers withered, ice shelves were retreating, ecologies changing. Glaciers don’t have political agendas, nor do penguins. There was no debate. In this remote, austere, beautiful place, our planet was visibly heating up.”

Climate alarmists typically venture to the Antarctic Peninsula. This region is often referred to as Antarctica’s “Banana Belt” since it has its own micro-climate and tells us little about temperatures across the bulk of the continent.

The following diagram from Jo Nova’s website might provide a clue:

The geological work of Lloyd et al. (2015) explains the situation:

“A seismic transect across West Antarctica: Evidence for mantle thermal anomalies beneath the Bentley Subglacial Trench and the Marie Byrd Land Dome.”

We see that West Antarctica is moving away from East Antarctica, forming one of the world’s largest continental rift systems and this is associated with a line of sub-surface volcanoes. The trench is part of the West Antarctic Rift System where hot rock beneath the region gives rise to mantle plumes and active volcanoes. As Dr. Doug Wiens points out:

“A line of volcanoes hints there might be a hidden mantle plume, like a blowtorch, beneath the plate.”

Scientists from Edinburgh University have identified around 100 volcanoes ranging in height from 100 to 3,850 metres. They are concentrated in a region known as the West Antarctic Rift System, stretching 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice-shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Little wonder then that Meredith Hooper found:

“On the Antarctic Peninsula rocks lay naked, newly revealed, stripped of snow. Glaciers withered, ice shelves were retreating.”


She clearly jumped to the alarmist and unsubstantiated conclusion that she was witnessing the results of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

Hopefully, Hooper has since looked up the work of Stenni et al. (2017):

“Antarctic climate variability on regional and continental scales over the last 2000 years.”

Stenni et al. point to:

“The absence of significant continent-scale warming of Antarctica over the last 100 years.”

And, more emphatically:

“The absence of continent-scale warming over Antarctica during the last century is a robust result.”

Not surprisingly, Stenni et al. (2017) referred to unreliable computer model predictions and pointed to reality:

“The absence of continent-scale warming over Antarctica is not in agreement with climate model simulations.”

Back to Meredith Hooper who clearly stated her position on anthropogenic global warming:

“The quantities of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere were measurably increasing. There was more methane, more nitrous oxide, ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, CO2, were being released into the atmosphere as we burned ever-increasing amounts of fuel made from the fossilized remnants of plants that has once scavenged the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stored it.”

In “The Sound of Extinction, in Antarctica” Hooper expresses her alarmism about Adélie penguins, saying:

“We are arriving to a catastrophe, walking into a bitter scenario produced by climate change. The Adélies don’t have the capacity to survive the drastic changes that are occurring. There’s no doubt.”

Adélie penguin colonies


“The real penguin losses in Antarctica are happening on the Antarctic Peninsula, where the greatest warming is occurring.”

Hooper, no doubt spurred on by other alarmists, overlooked the fact that penguins actually move around. Alarmist scientists, such as Dr. Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales, loudly proclaimed that 140,000 Adélie Penguins had been killed by climate change. Turney told Live Science in an email interview:

“I don’t think any of us anticipated what we saw: the ground was littered with dead chicks and discarded eggs. What had been until recently a noisy, raucous colony was now eerily quiet. It was heartbreaking to visit.”

Dr. Michelle LaRue corrected Turney by pointing out that:

“Adélie penguin colonies always have dead birds scattered around because the carcasses don’t decompose in Antarctica’s dry, cold climate. Researchers have discovered mummified penguins and seals that are centuries old.”

Turney is another climate alarmist needing to understand that Penguins are capable of moving.

In 2014, Dr. Heather Lynch and Dr. Mathew Schwaller examined NASA satellite imagery of the Danger Islands, a chain of remote islands off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. These images appeared to show a large number of penguins so they decided to investigate further.

In December 2015, they found hundreds of thousands of Adélie Penguins nesting on the islands and started counting, using drones to image the entire island. They announced the discovery of a “supercolony” of more than 1,500,000 Adélie Penguins.



Little Penguins of Antarctica

Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae)are doing well but what is happening to Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor)?

We can always count on the ABC to ramp up climate change alarm and so, in December 2009, we had Mark Colvin telling us how Little Penguins were threatened by climate change:

“Scientists monitoring Australia’s most famous population of Little Penguins have had a scare, after some chicks died of starvation because their parents had to go farther afield than usual to find food.”

Predictably, we were told that it’s a problem that could become more common as climate change takes hold and trust the media to find an alarmist scientist to add to the drama. Dr. Andre Chiaradia reported:

“There’s new evidence that storm activity can affect food supplies and there’s concern that could happen more often as the climate changes.”


“We are actually concerned in the future because with this story of global change and global warming those days of storms is going to be more often.”

To their credit, in July 2013 the ABC interviewed Research Manager of the Phillip Island Nature Parks Dr. Peter Dann who gave us some good news:

“These chicks are fatter, they’ve grown faster, the parents have brought back more food. The parents have been heavier than normal right through the breading seasons.”

King Penguins

So Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae)and Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) are doing well but what about King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus)?

Firstly, we read in the media how the King Penguin population on Macquarie Island was on the brink of extinction due to hunting to the extent that by 1894 the Isthmus colony was extinct and by 1930 the Lusitania Bay colony had been reduced to 3,400 birds.

More good news!

Dr. Tim Heupink, and colleagues from Queensland’s Griffith University, noted that, since the island became a wildlife sanctuary in 1933, a state reserve in 1972 and a World Heritage site in 1997, not only have King Penguin numbers recovered, they have expanded their colonies extending them north from Lusitania Bay on the east coast to Green Gorge, Sandy Bay and the Isthmus.

So Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae), Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) and King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are doing well but perhaps Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are in trouble.

Tim McDonnell (Mother Jones, June, 2014) breathlessly told us:

“Our Inability to Deal With Climate Change Is Going to Kill the Penguins.


“Many Antarctic Emperor penguin colonies could decline by more than half in less than a century.”


“It’s time for Emperor penguins to become the new poster children of climate change.”


“Thanks to declining concentrations of sea ice, two-thirds of Antarctica’s Emperor penguin colonies could lose more than half their population by 2100.”

Such alarmism ignored research conducted by Dr. Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey. Fretwell used satellite imagery to show that Emperor Penguins move between old colonies and establish new colonies.

Dr. Michelle LaRue, from the University of Minnesota agrees:

“This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes.”

Satellite imagery estimates have now more than doubled the population of known Emperor Penguins with two new colonies having been identified.

LaRue notes that, if we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics.

It would appear then that slightly increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature stasis over 20 years have done absolutely nothing to threaten the Penguins.

Returning to Meredith Hooper’s book I noted how “For clear overviews” about global warming threats to Arctic and Antarctic animal life, she recommended Tim Flannery’s book, The Weather Makers (London, 2005) and Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth (New York 2006).

Enough said.


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Dr.John Happs -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dr. John Happs has an academic background in the geosciences. Now retired, he has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and the USA.

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