First it was Polar Bears Now It’s Penguins
Posted by Jeff Condon on January 28, 2009
In a dramatic and unprecedented switch of focus, from winter to summer, scientists have now used computer models to predict the demise of the antarctic Emperor penguin. Well —- in a hundred years.
Screw the data they used models.
The paper, co-authored by five researchers including WHOI biologists Stephanie Jenouvrier and Hal Caswell, uses mathematical models to predict the effect on penguins of climate change and the resulting loss of sea ice.
The research indicates that if climate change continues to melt sea ice at the rates published in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the median population size of a large emperor penguin colony in Terre Adelie, Antarctica, likely will shrink from its present size of 3,000 to only 400 breeding pairs by the end of the century.
What’s more, the researchers calculate that the probability of a drastic decline (by 95 percent or more) is at least 40 percent and perhaps as much as 80 percent.
Melt rates published by the IPCC? Considering that antarctic sea ice has increased, I wonder what they are talking about.
“The key to the analysis was deciding to focus not on average climate conditions, but on fluctuations that occasionally reduce the amount of available sea ice,” said Hal Caswell, who is noted for his work in mathematical ecology.
Ok, I see now. They ignored the upward trend and focused on the fluctuations. Good, now that makes sense.
Because Jenouvrier and Caswell’s models were based on fluctuations rather than smooth trends, and because different IPCC models differ in their forecasts of future Antarctic climate, the results of the analysis incorporate uncertainty in the details of the future population growth, but the conclusions are not uncertain. “If the future behaves anything like the IPCC models predict, the Terre Adelie population will decline, probably dramatically,” said Jenouvrier
Yup, it’s like they want me to be a skeptic. It’s like they’re pushing sanity out of the process. Listen to this translation – Well the models differ on forecasts of the future climate, we ignored the measured data but were certain this will happen. Please fund us.
In the more immediate future, the study even might impact legal protections available for the emperor penguin. In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a preliminary ruling declining to list the emperor penguin under the Endangered Species Act. Caswell said this ruling is still being evaluated and research presented in this paper will have to be considered.
They want to list the penguin as an endangered species, because of potential future trouble? Or is it for the money?
Support for this work was provided by the UNESCO/L’OREAL Women in Science program and the National Science Foundation.
Follow the money.