Adélie penguins struggle to save eggs submerged by snowmelt.
Climate change is warming the poles faster than many other places on the planet, which means that polar scientists are coming to grips with these changes sooner than most anyone else.
Now, the long carbonic reach of industrialized society is quickly wiping out one of the toughest creatures on earth, a species that’s hard-wired to the polar desert and cannot adapt.
Adélie penguins, like other polar species, have always faced daunting challenges. But today, Adélies are confronting conditions for which nothing in their evolutionary history has prepared them. According to Fraser, the colonies around Palmer Station have reached a tipping point: they’ll be gone within his lifetime.
“Fraser’s Penguins,” portions of which appeared in The New Yorker, warns that what’s happening on the Antarctic Peninsula now is a taste of unsettling changes, elsewhere, to come. Should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet continue to melt, global sea levels could rise dramatically, in one NASA scientist’s opinion inundating Washington — and other coastal cities — by the end of this century.
excerpts from todays NY Times