Thursday, 21 June 2012

Boulder researchers predict extinction of "happy feet" penguins - Real data do not agree

There are more than twice more "happy feet" penguins than previously thought

A new study published by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution warns that the Emperor penguins could soon be on the brink of extinction because of global warming:

Global warming may have another victim in its sights: the penguin.
According to newly released report, penguins are facing an intangible threat that may ultimately decimate the population.
A study produced by several Boulder researchers notes that penguin populations could decline by as much as 60 percent. The team noted that a series of recent observations showed that the penguin population is already witnessing a steep decline in numbers.

The Boulder researchers based their projections on simulations from 20 computer climate models. They could of course have used real data from another brand new study - but that would have spoiled their alarmist message: 

 A new study using satellite mapping technology reveals that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought. The results provide an important benchmark for monitoring the impact of environmental change on the population of this iconic bird, which breeds in remote areas that are very difficult to study because they often are inaccessible with temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a technique known as pan-sharpening to increase the resolution of the satellite imagery, the science teams were able to differentiate between birds, ice, shadow and penguin poo or guano. They then used ground counts and aerial photography to calibrate the analysis.
Lead author and geographer Peter Fretwell at British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which is funded by the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council, explains, "We are delighted to be able to locate and identify such a large number of emperor penguins. We counted 595,000 birds, which is almost double the previous estimates of 270,000-350,000 birds. This is the first comprehensive census of a species taken from space."

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