Penguins add weight to global warming research
Wednesday 25 August 1993
Peter Wilson, a marine biologist, said yesterday that New Zealand and US scientists were seeking funding to install weighbridges at an Adelie penguin rookery near US McMurdo Station.
'It's not as outrageous as it sounds,' Mr Wilson said of the plan to tag and then automatically weigh each bird as it crosses the bridge. Mr Wilson said scientists suspect a link between the penguins' improving fortunes and the volume of water - and number of fish - in nearby Lake Vanda. Fed by glacial meltwater, the lake thaws in summer and freezes in winter.
'Since 1981, about the same time as we started recording the increase in penguin numbers, this lake level has also been rapidly rising,' Mr Wilson said. 'Not only that, it's quite accurately tracked the rise and the two years of fall in our Adelie penguin population before it's tracked up again over the past two years.
'We think it may be a very accurate barometer of the overall increase in warming in that area.'
Mr Wilson said that if the lake level continued to rise, it would indicate that some factor, such as global warming, was at work. Tempting though the theory is, however, the scientists are far from home and dry. Fluctuations in some animal populations represent classic examples of the mathematical 'chaos' theory, making it difficult to link cause and effect. In addition, the efforts of the world's whaling nations have effectively removed the largest predators of fish from the seas around Antarctica, leaving an ecological niche for smaller animals, such as penguins.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
Nepal earthquake video: Terrifying footage shows moment avalanche hit Everest Base Camp
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...