Monday, July 8, 2013

Penguin population growth defies claims

Phillip Island is world-famous for its nightly Penguin Parade. Picture: Supplied
A penguin parade on Phillip Island. Source: Supplied

THE ABC had surprising news last week - for anyone who'd fallen for its previous penguin alert. 
"The little penguins of Phillip Island are experiencing a baby boom," it reported. "Last summer's breeding season was the best in a generation" because a warmer autumn meant the penguins "breed much better."

Yet the ABC last claimed global warming was starving the colony's penguins. "Some chicks died of starvation because their parents had to go farther afield than usual to find food," it reported in 2009. "It's a problem which could become more common as climate change takes hold."

We're now in the fun times when scary predictions made at the height of the global warming hysteria prove wrong, especially about penguins. In 2008, Strasbourg scientists calculated 9 per cent of king penguins would die for every 0.26C of sea surface warming.

There was therefore a "heavy extinction risk" of king penguins on places like Macquarie Island, they said. But sea surface temperatures haven't risen for 15 years, and last year even the warmist Age reported "a population of king penguins on the brink of extinction has not only recovered but expanded its colonies on remote Macquarie Island."

In 1996, the Sydney Morning Herald also reported "a tragedy is beginning to unfold for the creatures of the zoologically rich Macquarie Island, with climate change in the Southern Ocean occurring at the fastest rate on earth.

"Macquarie's population of rock hoppers, which has fallen from 6000 pairs in the 1970s to 3000 pairs now, is estimated to have declined by a further 5 per cent this season."

Yet the Australian Antarctic Division now reports: "The population at Macquarie Island is estimated to be in the order of 100,000 to 500,000."

In fact, warmist scientists might turn out to be more dangerous to penguins than man-made warming.
Two years ago, scientists noted a disturbing death rate among king penguins they'd tagged, hampering their swimming. The journal, Nature, reported: "Tagging penguins with flipper bands harms their chances of survival and breeding, a finding which raises doubts over studies that use these birds as telltales for climate change."

Now there's an ABC headline: "Warming scare kills penguins."


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