Tag Archives: antarctic peninsula

Penguin chicks

UD study connects penguin chick weights to local weather conditions

Adélie penguins are an indigenous species of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. Since 1950, the average annual temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has increased 2 degrees Celsius on average, and 6 degrees Celsius during winter.  (more…)

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Climate Change Winners and Losers

The Antarctic Peninsula, the northern most region of Antarctica, is experiencing some of the most dramatic changes due to climate warming, including population declines of some penguin species.

This is not the first time that region has felt the effects of climate warming. How did penguins respond to the melting of snow and ice cover 11,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age? (more…)

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Scientists Cast Doubt on Theory of What Triggered Antarctic Glaciation

AUSTIN, Texas — A team of U.S. and U.K. scientists has found geologic evidence that casts doubt on one of the conventional explanations for how Antarctica’s ice sheet began forming. Ian Dalziel, research professor at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, and his colleagues report the findings today in an online edition of the journal Geology.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), an ocean current flowing clockwise around the entire continent, insulates Antarctica from warmer ocean water to the north, helping maintain the ice sheet. For several decades, scientists have surmised that the onset of a complete ACC played a critical role in the initial glaciation of the continent about 34 million years ago. (more…)

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Recent Antarctic climate, glacier changes at the ‘upper bound’ of normal

In the last few decades, glaciers at the edge of the icy continent of Antarctica have been thinning, and research has shown the rate of thinning has accelerated and contributed significantly to sea level rise.

New ice core research suggests that, while the changes are dramatic, they cannot be attributed with confidence to human-caused global warming, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. (more…)

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Antarctic and Arctic Insects Use Different Genetic Mechanisms to Cope With Lack of Water

Genomic techniques facilitate discovery that gene expression causes disparity

Although they live in similarly extreme ecosystems at opposite ends of the world, Antarctic insects appear to employ entirely different methods at the genetic level to cope with extremely dry conditions than their counterparts that live north of the Arctic Circle, according to National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded researchers.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded, “Polar arthropods have developed distinct… mechanisms to cope with similar desiccating conditions.” (more…)

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Massive Crevasses and Bendable Ice affect Stability of Antarctic Ice Shelf, CU-Boulder Research Team Finds

Gaping crevasses that penetrate upward from the bottom of the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula make it more susceptible to collapse, according to University of Colorado Boulder researchers who spent the last four Southern Hemisphere summers studying the massive floating sheet of ice that covers an area twice the size of Massachusetts.

But the scientists also found that ribbons running through the Larsen C Ice Shelf – made up of a mixture of ice types that, together, are more prone to bending than breaking – make the shelf more resilient than it otherwise would be. (more…)

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Changing Climate, Not Tourism, Seems to Be Driving Decline in Chinstrap-Penguin Populations

High-resolution satellite imagery aids in study

The breeding population of chinstrap penguins has declined significantly as temperatures have rapidly warmed on the Antarctic Peninsula, according to researchers funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The study indicates that changing climatic conditions, rather than the impact of tourism, have had the greatest effect on the chinstrap population.

Ron Naveen, founder of a nonprofit science and conservation organization, Oceanites, Inc., of Chevy Chase, Md., documented the decline in a paper published in the journal Polar Biology. Naveen and coauthor Heather Lynch, of Stony Brook University, are researchers with the Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI). (more…)

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