Really? – Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change

From the University of Chicago Press Journals, a bizarre claim that less than 1C of warming globally in the last century, and essentially no change at all in Antarctica, will somehow change the weather in Antarctica and make it harder for seal pups to survive. Interestingly though, Livingston Island isn’t even part of the Antarctic continent. it is between the northernmost tip of the  Antarctic peninsula and Tierra Del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America. That puts it smack dab in the middle of ocean currents and weather patterns.

On Livingston Island, there is Ferraz Station, operated by Brazil, and it has a weather station.

The base is rather small:

And the temperature data from Ferraz station, looks like this:

It is a short record, essentially flat, so temperature certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue, so we are left with model predictions, and no actual data to support “climate change” on Livingston Island. Here’s the claim in the press release, with the usual collection of weasel words of “climate models predict”, “could cause”, “If climate change models are correct…”, and “this may influence”.

Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change

A new study suggests that climate change could pose a risk for Antarctic fur seals in their first few months of life.

The study, published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, found that changing weather conditions can impact the metabolic rates of fur seal pups. Climate models predict windier and wetter conditions in Antarctica in the coming years, and that could cause young seals to assign more energy to thermoregulation, leaving less available for growth and development.

For their study, a team of scientists led by Dr. Birgitte McDonald (University of University of California, Santa Cruz) gathered data from 48 young seals on Livingston Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, to find out how much energy pups get from their mothers and how they use it.

“Energy budgets are important if we are to understand how individuals interact with their environment,” McDonald said. “In juvenile animals we need to know how they allocate energy towards growth, energy storage, maintenance including thermoregulation, and development of foraging skills to facilitate a successful transition to independence.”

The team measured milk energy intake, field metabolic rate, and growth rate over three developmental periods during in the seals’ first four months of life, when they are completely dependent on mother’s milk. The research found that in newborn pups, around 60 percent of the milk energy they receive from their mothers goes to growth. But as the pups get older and their mothers begin leaving them behind periodically to go on foraging trips, that percentage begins to fall. By the age of one month, pups only have about 25 percent of their energy available for growth.

As expected, the researchers found that the biggest predictor of a pup’s growth rate was the amount of milk they ingested, showing just how important maternal investment is when growing up in such harsh conditions. But other factors were also important in determining a pup’s energy throughput, including the pup’s size and condition at birth and environmental factors like weather.

“If climate change models are correct and the Antarctic Peninsula gets windier and wetter weather, this may influence how much energy is available for growth,” McDonald said. “Changes in prey availability and climate may lead pups to conserve energy by sacrificing the development of foraging skill or to wean at a lower mass or body condition, resulting in negative impacts on the ability to transition successfully to nutritional independence.”

McDonald hopes the research will lead to better predictions about how a changing environment may ultimately affect young seals and seal populations.

###

Birgitte I. McDonald, Michael E. Goebel, Daniel E. Crocker, Daniel P. Costa, “Biological and Environmental Drivers of Energy Allocation in a Dependent Mammal, the Antarctic Fur Seal Pup.” Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85:2 (March/April 2012).

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology primarily publishes original research papers in animal physiology and biochemistry with a specific emphasis on studies that address the ecological and/or evolutionary aspects of physiological and biochemical mechanisms.

About these ads

79 thoughts on “Really? – Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change

  1. Obviously dead seal pups are the newest proxy for CAGW and other catastrophic yet to be named stuff. This is the greatest revelation since the miracle bristle cone tree and upside down mud deposits. As my frustrated daughter used to write when doing math proofs in high school – “it’s obvious!”

  2. Yeah, sure! The Antarctic is going to get windier if it warms a fraction? I seem to remember someone saying that it is already pretty windy down Antarctica way. Have these researchers not heard of the “furious fifties”? Anthony’s screen shot shows the latitude of Livingston Island is 58 degrees.

  3. Apparently the Santa Cruz team which is far left by nature never considered that seals have been around for 1000’s of years and survived many climate changes. Pretty sure they will adapt to the next one whatever it is. Just another global warming press release paid for by stimulus dollars or higher tuition.

  4. Er, judging by the position of Livingston Island on the Antarctic Shelf Margin, technically it is a part of the Antarctic Continental mass, perhaps as an accreted terrane. But I digress. To think that 1 puny degree of temperature variation in such a harsh place would make anything but a positive difference is, well, loony.

  5. Oh come on Anthony its obvious – If there were any climate change in this location (which there isn’t) then there might be a risk to the pups (or not). More budding AGW experts on the way.

  6. This is serious. A lack of fur seal pups will have an impact on the endangered polar bear population.

    REPLY: wrong hemisphere

  7. Sounds to me like a completely useless study with absolutely no useful or interesting results, so they tacked on a ‘climate change’ perspective to make it valid.

  8. Didn’t half that place burn down recently? Can’t do much to the carbon balance in the anarctic..

  9. I cannot believe rubbish like this is published unchallenged I know I am smarter than most but surely most will spot this for the crock it is?

  10. “The study, published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, found that changing weather conditions can impact the metabolic rates of fur seal pups. Climate models predict…”

    Using my Airfix model, I predict this is BS.

  11. University of California, Santa Cruz….that says it all – agenda-based study results.
    Speaking of results, do they actually have cases (i.e. evidence) of young pups
    actually weaining earlier or sacrificing foraging skill? Seems the only “evidence”
    for this is in their models, a sort of hiding the (non-)decline in the young pups’ well-being.
    Of course this will require more funding for repeated junkets, er, studies to
    prop up the supposed results….and this at a time when California’s universities
    are in dire need of money for normal operations…

  12. According to Brenda Hall’s research, elephant seals were breeding in the Ross Sea area a thousand years ago. It’s too cold for that these days. The closest they breed is on Macquarie Island. Even though it was much warmer than today, the Ross ice shelf appears to have remained intact.

    I suspect the Southern fur seals are too illiterate to appreciate the nuances of computer projections and consequently won’t give a fiddler’s fart for this research.

  13. My turn for a pendant post.

    “harder for deal pups to survive. ”

    I am pretty sure you meant seal pups.

  14. Arctocephalus (including Antarctic fur seals) is a very climatic-tolerant genus, with species all over various islands in the eastern Pacific, South America, the Antarctic Convergence, South Africa, and Australia/New Zealand, from the Farallones (off Northern California) to Guadalupe (off central Mexico) to the Galapagos and south to the Antarctic. There is even a sub-Antarctic fur seal (A. tropicalis). It is the only otariid pinniped genus to cross the equator. The speciation of the genus is fairly recent as well. That speciation is a likely a product of the Pleistocene climate oscillations. A degree or two in either direction now won’t matter much to the genus or the species (Arctocephalus gazella).

    I believe this report is only playing to the audience expecting AGW stuff. Marine Mammal Science should have been the journal of choice for this. I wonder if the SMM/MMS kicked it.

  15. Dr. Dave says:
    March 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm
    Take a gander at Ms. McDonald’s CV. I’m underwhelmed.

    http://bio.research.ucsc.edu/people/costa/people/CV_mcdonald.pdf

    Her CV was interesting to read. It looks like she does a great deal of field work. At least she is doing actual work in the field and getting direct observational data. Although the conclusions that are reached do seem a bit farfetched. More like an excuse to continue observation and not something they actually believe.

  16. To anyone who might be interested: at the Australian Climate Madness site -presently listing Dr David Evan’s excellent essays (Climate Coup – The Science; Climate Coup – The Politics: see the link in my comment above) I suggested that readers might also be interested in following a link to Martin Durkin’s site (he of: ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’) and his excellent essays on ‘GREENS and the lessons from history’ (2 vols) which are freely available to read at his site. Here is that link:

    http://www.martindurkin.com/blogs/greens-warning-history-volume-one

  17. As Tom E above points out, the seals have adapted to past climate changes.
    I very much doubt homo sapiens sapiens is capable of adapting to any climate change at all.

  18. Anthony,

    I admire your restraint in guiding Mike McMillan to the knowledge that Polar bears live in the Arctic, which is up north and the fur seals under discussion are located on an island just off the Antarctic continent down south. I’d have deleted his comment to save his blushes.

    However, upon reflection, MM shows a similar grasp of the facts of reality as a certain other MM we know about! Is it possible we have we had a visitation from the Ig Nobel one?

    http://improbable.com/ig/winners/

    Regards,

    Perry

  19. Thanks for the CV Dr. Dave – She has never done a days work in her life. As my friend Mr. Ng would say ” It’s a road of borrocks”

  20. This is serious. A lack of fur seal pups will have an impact on the endangered polar bear population.

    REPLY: wrong hemisphere

    Are you sure?

  21. Quick fact check: One of the breeding grounds of antarctic fur seal is Macquarie Island (AU). Annual population growth rate is 13%(!) there, which is clearly unsustainable, but shows the species is well adapted to environmental conditions there.

    Now, Macquarie Island is located 54.5 S, some 900 km farther North from Antarctica than Livingston Island, therefore its annual average temperature is about 7.5°C warmer (4.8°C vs. -2.7°C. It also gets 20% more precipitation (960 mm vs. 800 mm per annum) and is more windy (avg. wind speed 30 km/h vs. 15 km/h, wind gusts 140 km/h vs 110 km/h).

    I should really ask, what are these folks talking about? More importantly, what were reviewers doing? Have editors chosen them based on their political stance as opposed to their familiarity with the habitat range of the species in question?

    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/macquarie-island/macquarie-is-science/fur-seals-on-macquarie-island

  22. A couple of days ago The Weather Channel had a “former skeptic” meteorologist on talking about how he came to the conclusion that global warming is real.

    Translation, he was likely threatened with losing his job if he didn’t bow to the CAGW church.

  23. @Kozlowski, Yep they just needed the CAGW grant to carry on there studies, I think anyone in the field will realise this is just political drivel, it’s the modern day politics of being a field scientist as soon as you get back to the real world the money men are on you straight away on how it affects CAGW, I suppose you could ask why take the CAGW money but I guess the weighting for grants in modern research is probably heavily in the CAGW direction.

    My new title for these times is The Post Modern Dark Ages. But that’s just me.

  24. C`mon ,it`s obvious . The existance of fur seals is a hoax perpetrated by big oil as the last fur seal died from heatstroke during the Eemian which was caused by modern fossil fuel use (o:

  25. Three years ago, the meme was that global warming would result in additional rainfall on Livingston, thereby rendering the drenched pups more susceptible to pneumonia induced by the frigid blasts of Antarctic winds.

    I think that argument fell by the wayside when someone pointed out to the hand-wringers that
    1. seals are pretty much waterproof to begin with and
    2. since they don’t routinely die of pneumonia when they get wet in sub-zero temperatures, why would they catch pneumonia if it was *warmer*?

  26. This kind of research is the antithesis of real science. Predicting what may happen if something happens according to models etc. could as equally be applied to fashion, politics,

    I was going to say cooking and economics, but in comparison those are far more scientific than this kind of rubbish. Researchers involved in this kind of carp should be chucked out of science. But no doubt they are being considered for a nobel prize … for their contribution to voodoo non-science.

  27. But …… recent research has shown that increased CO2 produces fatter people, and presumably the same will apply to all mammals including seals. The seals will get an even better start to life and will be able to cope with the rigours of increased temperatures even better. /sarc off

  28. Mike McMillan says:
    March 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm
    This is serious. A lack of fur seal pups will have an impact on the endangered polar bear population.

    REPLY: wrong hemisphere
    _____________________________________________________
    I still fully expect this study to be published by some idiot scientists somewhere, based off of a computer model now. As a bonus, I really hope the author works in how declining penguin populations also threaten the poley bears fragile ecosystem in their “robust model”.

  29. The reasons for this have probably more to do with the cuteness quotient of seal pups than anything to do with the actual climate. I suspect we will soon see a veritable parade of cute cuddly creatures all of whom are apparently somehow unusually vulnerable to climate.

  30. Richard111 says:

    March 22, 2012 at 12:44 am

    As Tom E above points out, the seals have adapted to past climate changes.
    I very much doubt homo sapiens sapiens is capable of adapting to any climate change at all.

    Hmm, now is the late King aware that mankind lives in a range of climatic regions, from the Polar tundra, through to tropical rainforest?

  31. To Mike McMillan at 11:13

    It’s too late, Mike. The Antarctic Polar Bear is already extinct. CAGW, of course.

  32. “If climate change models are correct and the Antarctic Peninsula gets windier and wetter weather, this may influence how much energy is available for growth,” McDonald said

    Right there is your problem, and McDonald still went on to include “may influence,” which leaves the possibility that it ‘may not influence.’

    I think the abstract should read, “Random thoughts and wild-@$$ speculations on [...]”

    Also:
    @Dr. Dave.
    I’m with Kozwalski on the CV. Looks like she’s done a lot of field work and that’s a good thing. Doesn’t seem adept yet at wild-@$$ speculation, but that will come with experience.

  33. And I thought it was those men with big clubs that were killing the seal pups, but it turns out it was global warming all along ?

  34. “make it harder for deal pups to survive.”

    Shouldn’t it be ‘seal pups’?

    [Done. Thank you, Robt]

  35. Anthony, small typing error
    “and essentially no change at all in Antarctica, will somehow change the weather in Antarctica and make it harder for deal pups to survive”. deal pups = seal pups

  36. How much was the pup’s growth interupted by nosey scientists disturbing the neighbourhood?

  37. There are no polar bears in the southern hemisphere. From this we may draw the following conclusions:

    Itz happening already!
    Itz worse than we thought!
    Polar bears are already extinct in the southern hemisphere!
    Seal pups in Antarctica are a proxy for global climate change! They are just as accurate as trees in Siberia!
    Polar bear populations in the northern hemisphere are endangered, everyone knows that just because their population has quadrupled it doesn’t mean they aren’t going extinct.

    THEREFORE it is obvious that seal pup viability in this study is in fact related to polar bear endangerment.

    From the above, my conclusion is that the original statement by Mike McMillan has merit commensurate with the quality of the study cited, the accepted logical standards for science in matters regarding climate, and the heavy dose of sarcasm that was clearly intended.

  38. For their study, a team of scientists led by Dr. Birgitte McDonald (University of University of California, Santa Cruz) gathered data from 48 young seals on Livingston Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, to find out how much energy pups get from their mothers and how they use it.

    Is it worth an FOI request to see a copy of the questionaire they put to these seal pups? Or did they just talk to the seals’ mothers? I do hope they asked the parents’ permission before they spoke to the youngsters. :-)

  39. Once again we are show that the AGW scare bucket for ‘research’ funding is still deep and well filled. There really should be a prize for ‘the most tenuous link to AGW in a pace of research’ or one for the ‘AGW research worth is less than the words that make up its content.’
    The only trouble would be there be so many canidates .

  40. Used to be a standing joke amongst us pure scientists about starting a Journal of Wild Speculation and Hand Waving (JWSHW). Looks like someone must have thought we were serious!

  41. I think one reason why it is popular with climatologists to study arctic and antarctic areas is that globally very few persons are able to dispute the results. In southern Finland the yearly temperature variations is between -25 and +30 deg C. The yearly variation is thus ca. 55 deg C. I think that the antarctic islands due to the influence from the sea is slightly less. Still 1 deg C change in a range of perhaps 50 deg C looks really insignificant.

    Does any reader have any good interesting pointer to what the wide sound between S America and Antarctica really is. Visually it looks like an impact from areally big body. How old is this scar and how was it created?

    Ps. There is some fault in submitting comments. WordPress tries to force me to use for example face book login and also ask me for permission to access my network of friends. It looks like posting fails if I do not grant access. I think there is a serious problem. I switched to an alternative address to post.

  42. “John says:
    March 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm
    Wouldn’t a 1 degree temperature rise lead to somewhat lower thermoregulation requirements?”

    No. It only seems like it would because you missed the part about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming causing Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Cooling. (Which will lead to Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming followed by Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Cooling in a never ending cycle because “As Master surely knows, it’s turtles all the
    way down.”)

  43. Wow. They didn’t even get the geography right. Another useless study. Don’t they know that the Arctic spends half of the year in darkness?

  44. In my opinion, it is so important to save the polar bears, that we should move a thousand or so mating pairs to Antarctica. Then we could make a fun cartoon about the effect on dancing penguins. Let’s make sure the cartoon has product placements from Coke and Nissan Leafs.

  45. “By the age of one month, pups only have about 25 percent of their energy available for growth.”

    Even the word “only” here is a SNIVELLING way to say this, as if it was a bad thing and not just real life. They are putting undue opinionated bias on the number.

    As the growing season from year to year can vary a lot, how can they blithely suggest that so much is riding on the weather. They also forget that the pups are low to the ground, can shelter even in depressions, let alone behind rocks, others or adults, Krumholzing is also an option. They have had weather during the growing season EVERY year of their existence, INCLUDING the last ice age!!!. Golly gee, Batman, it’s . . it’s . . it’s like real life!

    By the way, it’s the tough who win and this is selection pressures at their best. It’s a win, win for the seals.

  46. The study, published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, found that changing weather conditions can impact the metabolic rates of fur seal pups.

    Does a mammal’s metabolism change relative to the ambient temperature? Yes Does the local temperature change much? No Might it some day? Maybe Might the metabolism of local change with temperature change? Probably
    End of study…

  47. davidmhoffer says:

    “Seal pups in Antarctica are a proxy for global climate change! They are just as accurate as trees in Siberia!”

    But much more entertaining to extract core samples from , or do you just cut `em in half and measure the rings ? (o:

  48. I think Mike McMillan just forgot the /sarc tag. I really hope so, because otherwise he needs to go back to elementary school for a refresher.

  49. Right, those seal pups are extremely vulnerable.
    That’s why zoo’s all over the world have them on life support 24/7
    These animals can’t adapt and even a little swing in temperature brings them in a state of shock.
    I think it’s great that the University of Chicago finally pointed out the causes of the suffering so we can act now. I’m sure the US tax payers are thrilled with this report.

    We only have to shut down the economies of the world and reduce the world population to a level of 500 million will solve all the problems.

    Let’s start with shutting down the University of Chicago.

  50. Seal pups are cute and do not eat people, so they are better than polar bears.
    The willful ignorance of the envirocrats that drives their persistent need to misrepresent and deceive is amazing. Their lack of understanding about how tough life on Earth really is raises the question of whether or not they spend anytime at all outside.

  51. A double fix. Import polar bears, so that, when they die out in the the Arctic, there will be a genetic reservoir in the Antarctic. Secondly, the remaining seal pups [that the bears miss] will have more milk, and therefore do better in the new “warmer” cold, windy, wet, icy, snowy world.

    /sarc off

  52. Why don’t these folks ever believe in the things they say they believe in. If they accept Darwin’s survival of the fitest then they should also point out that the surviving seal pups will be stronger and able to survive better. Was that in the study?

  53. Byron says:
    March 22, 2012 at 5:00 am
    davidmhoffer says:
    “Seal pups in Antarctica are a proxy for global climate change! They are just as accurate as trees in Siberia!”
    But much more entertaining to extract core samples from , or do you just cut `em in half and measure the rings ?>>>>

    I’m not actually certain how itz done. I think the expert is probably Dr Michael Mann. You might consider sending him correspondence asking if he can describe how to core a seal pup. My expectation however is that if he does know the answer he will insist that it is not subject to FOIA requests.

  54. Dr. Dave
    March 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm
    ###
    HMM,
    She attended Granola U which some people call Sonoma State. They are even nuttier the UC Santa Cruz.

  55. Dr. Lurtz says:
    March 22, 2012 at 6:31 am
    A double fix. Import polar bears, so that, when they die out in the the Arctic, there will be a genetic reservoir in the Antarctic.>>>>

    Plus, it would give us the opportunity to study the effects of “jet lag” at the semi-annual scale. I’m not certain in what way the outcome could be tied to global warming, but I’m certain the researchers will find one.

  56. While doing a quick check on “Livingston Island Ferraz Station”, came across this fact. The Ferraz Station is built on the same site than the old British Station G (Admiralty Bay).

    http://www.admiraltybayasma.aq/ab_asma_hist_eng2.html – Has history of the area. “Sheltered deep harbours and accessible beaches ensured an early start to activities in Admiralty Bay. The bay offered protection for ships in the area during the sealing and whaling periods in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and ruins of installations related to the latter period still exist. Whale bones cover the beaches and are part of the landscape, remaining as heritage of this period.”

    Checking for “British Station G (Admiralty Bay) temperature data” up pops a little longer temperature graph. This one from 1942. See – http://ipy-osc.no/abstract/383300?lightbox

    Temperatures have increased by over 1C already, so are we now seeing miniature seal pups already?

  57. Shevva says:
    March 22, 2012 at 1:14 am

    …My new title for these times is The Post Modern Dark Ages. But that’s just me.
    ___________________________________
    And I thought that referred to the near future after Global Governance 2025 was a fact.

  58. Ian H says:
    March 22, 2012 at 2:03 am

    The reasons for this have probably more to do with the cuteness quotient of seal pups than anything to do with the actual climate. I suspect we will soon see a veritable parade of cute cuddly creatures all of whom are apparently somehow unusually vulnerable to climate.
    _________________________
    I expect you are correct now that the Poley Bear has been outed as a carnivore (OH! horrors said the vegan) and increasing in population to boot. Expect Coca Cola to have a cute little fur seal on their cans next Christmas.

  59. Richard111 says: @ March 22, 2012 at 12:44 am

    As Tom E above points out, the seals have adapted to past climate changes.
    I very much doubt homo sapiens sapiens is capable of adapting to any climate change at all.
    _____________________________
    Adam Gallon says: @ March 22, 2012 at 2:04 am
    Hmm, now is the late King aware that mankind lives in a range of climatic regions, from the Polar tundra, through to tropical rainforest?
    ———————————————————
    I think he is referring to homo sapiens polticia scientficis found only in Ivory towers or at tropical resort conferences.

  60. higley7 says:
    March 22, 2012 at 4:58 am

    “By the age of one month, pups only have about 25 percent of their energy available for growth.”

    Even the word “only” here is a SNIVELLING way to say this, as if it was a bad thing and not just real life. They are putting undue opinionated bias on the number.

    As the growing season from year to year can vary a lot, how can they blithely suggest that so much is riding on the weather….
    ________________________________________
    I do not know anything about seals but I do know about domestic mammals. If a baby is deprived during part of his growth to adulthood he can make up the growth later. If this was not true then most animals would not have survived until today. Optimum growth conditions are really rather rare even today.

    Sorry no link the info was from an old journal article.

  61. Gail Combs at 10:47 and higley7 at 04:58 . . .

    I’m not sure about the importance of the statement, “By the age of one month, pups only have about 25 percent of their energy available for growth.”

    What is the other 75% of their energy going to? From the birth until weaning, much of the energy goes to energy stores in the form of fat (not growth). Seal pups bulk up quickly going into weaning (at about four months for this species), then become skinny in the ensuing months until they figure out how to feed on their own. Antarctic fur seals are born with a fluffy coat that provides insulation. Some Antarctic pups are born with a white lanugo coat; others are born with a black coat. This is important to the discussion about climate change because most pagophylic seals (ice loving) birth white-coated pups with relatively short nursing periods (Harp seals wean in 12 days; hooded seals wean in only 4 days) . Seals not bound to the ice birth dark pups. Go back 15,000 years and I’d bet all Antarctic fur seals birthed white coat pups. For the Interglacial period we’re in, we are witnessing how an Arctocephaline pinniped species transitions from an ice birthing environment to an ice limited terrestrial birthing rookery. It is an indication of the resiliency of the species, even the genus. For comparison we can look at the similar Subantarctic fur seal which births a black pup that moults at three months and weans at ten months. The same thing is playing out in the Northern Hemisphere with the closely related phocids: harbor seal and largha seal — they look the same, but one is farther north and births white pups on ice, while the other births pups without the white lanugo on ice or land. Although otariid pinnipeds (sea lions and fur seals) are very different from phocid pinnipeds (true seals), there are similarities regarding reproduction and neonate behavior at the margin between cold/polar environments and the cold temperate environs. This can easily adapt to swings in temperature of several degrees. They even survived a tremendous slaughter by the commercial sealers in the 18th and 19th centuries who nearly exterminated the species. From a small remnant colony at Bird Island (off South Georgia), they have come back to number nearly two million. During that time of recovery, the average temperature has already risen a degree or so. They can handle it.

  62. Climate models predict windier and wetter conditions in Antarctica in the coming years

    This is exactly the kind of regional climate prediction for which Roger Pielke Snr shows that the climate models have no predictive skill whatever. It is just as likely that it will get drier and calmer.

    Go build your house on sand…

  63. The key words:
    ….A new study suggests that climate change could pose a risk ….
    … suggest…. could pose a risk….can impact…Climate models predict….that could cause …
    If climate change models are correct …this may influence…
    If I were a cynic I would say that one can insert anything in the blanks and make research papers ad nauseam.

  64. Ian H says:
    March 22, 2012 at 2:03 am
    The reasons for this have probably more to do with the cuteness quotient of seal pups than anything to do with the actual climate. I suspect we will soon see a veritable parade of cute cuddly creatures all of whom are apparently somehow unusually vulnerable to climate.

    Its worse then we thought the Cute/Cuddly Catastrophe (hence forth known as the CCC) is upon us. Run for the hills…

  65. I am remiss in not reading their study (better uses of my time) but have they considered that their study may have influenced their results (the observer effect)?

    Perhaps the seal pups would have more energy for growth if they weren’t wasting some of it attempting to escape the researchers, who would presumably need hands-on measurements.

    Perhaps the experience of other researchers might be useful before they interfere with Nature and make may/could/possibly/perhaps wild-a$$ guesses:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v469/n7329/full/nature09630.html

    From the abstract:
    Here we show that banding of free-ranging king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) impairs both survival and reproduction, ultimately affecting population growth rate. Over the course of a 10-year longitudinal study, banded birds produced 39% fewer chicks and had a survival rate 16% lower than non-banded birds, demonstrating a massive long-term impact of banding and thus refuting the assumption that birds will ultimately adapt to being banded6, 12. Indeed, banded birds still arrived later for breeding at the study site and had longer foraging trips even after 10 years. One of our major findings is that responses of flipper-banded penguins to climate variability (that is, changes in sea surface temperature and in the Southern Oscillation index) differ from those of non-banded birds. We show that only long-term investigations may allow an evaluation of the impact of flipper bands and that every major life-history trait can be affected, calling into question the banding schemes still going on. In addition, our understanding of the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems based on flipper-band data should be reconsidered.

    They might also get more funding if the typo that many have commented on is changed from:
    “make it harder for deal pups to survive” to “make it harder for dead pups to survive”. After all, it is only one letter and, if the IPCC’s quality control can be used as a standard then it won’t make much difference.

  66. If the pups are stressed by additional thermo-regulation, wouldn’t they be hungrier and demand more milk from the mother by staying latched on longer and yelping more? Wouldn’t the energy burdon be on the adult seals? Would a mother fur seal starve her pups when she is not starving herself?

  67. I’m having trouble commenting here for some reason. Don’t approve this comment. I’m just trying to fix a technical problem (since when do I have to log in?) Thanks.

  68. So, from what I have read so far these seals are distributed in warmer geographic locations and are OK. So a 1C temperature rise on Livingstone Island spells doom. What a load of horse sh**

    Seals in zoos are doomed. Polar bears have fried in European zoos. 1C and its it’s all over. How did these poor creatures survive the global Medieval Warm Period? The Holocene Climate Optimum? For that matter how the hell did Polar bears survive ice-free central Arctic ocean during the Holocene.? I am sick to death of these rent seeking scammers.

  69. Byron says:
    March 22, 2012 at 5:00 am
    davidmhoffer says:

    “Seal pups in Antarctica are a proxy for global climate change! They are just as accurate as trees in Siberia!”

    But much more entertaining to extract core samples from , or do you just cut `em in half and measure the rings ? (o:

    ==================

    Certainly a proxy for global climate change – they’re white. They don’t bother changing for our interglacials..

  70. BJ says:
    March 22, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Was I the only one to see the polar bear comment as sarcasm? Thought it was funny, m’self.

    No you weren’t and Mike, being a regular commenter, here will surely know, as others have pointed out, that the Antarctic Polar bear is now extinct due to CAGW.

    Alan the Brit.

    I don’t know where it all ends, I certainly hope there was a responsible adult seal present when they interrogated these poor pups. ;-)

    DaveE.

  71. uh huh, and why are they called fur seals? Sounds like they may have bigger problems than climate change, maybe men with large clubs?

Comments are closed.