Nutty Story of the Day: "Global Warming" is Killing the Penguins in Antarctica

This picture is my own choice – it is not related to the UK Mirror story

You have to wonder how the press allows stories like these to get published without some basic fact checking. I’m reminded of the recent CBS News story about “resonance” and global warming causing more earthquakes.

From the UK Sunday Mirror: Plight of the p-p-p penguins

By Richard Cooper 20/07/2008

This shivering penguin is just one of thousands close to death in Antarctica. Rain storms have killed tens of thousands of chicks – and scientists blame global warming. New-born penguins take 40 days to grow water-proof feathers. They can withstand snow, but if rain soaks them to the skin, they die of cold. Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil’s beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain. The Emperor penguin – star of the hit film March Of The Penguins – is also under threat. Antarctic temperatures have risen by 3C in the last 50 years to an average of – 14.7C (5.5F). The penguin population has fallen by up to 80 per cent and, if the downpours go on, they will be extinct within 10 years. Dozens of migrant penguins are being treated at Rio de Janeiro’s Niterio Zoo. Biologist Erli Costa said: “This is all due to global warming.”

That’s the entire story, no other sources are given. But I did find the source Associated Press story here.

Interestingly, the AP story has no mention of “rain” or of “baby chick penguins”. There were mentions of other causes such as food supply and pollution as possible causes. It seems Mr. Cooper of the Sunday Mirror has the only mention of “rain” and “chicks” and “80 percent population decrease”. I think this story from the Falkland Islands may be his source for that number though.

Ok let’s do some fact checking to see if there is really anything going on in Antarctica causing an “80 percent population decrease”.

First lets look for a collaborating research story, how about the best organization on Birds, the National Audubon Society? Surely they’ll have this story. But a check of their web page at: shows no mention of this.

Ok maybe Greenpeace? Nope, nothing there. British Antaractic survey? Nope though they have a nice picture of a penguins but no mention of the crisis.

At the very least, let’s check the temperature in Antarctica, It’s winter there. Here’s the temp map as of publication of this blog posting:

Click for larger image – Temperatures in degrees Centigrade.

Source:  University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Antarctic Weather Stations Project

Hmmm. Warmest temperature is -6° C, it is rather difficult to get rain under that sort of temperature. Unfortunately I did not find an easy to decipher archive of temperatures for the last few days, but again given it is winter there, the prospect of above freezing air temperatures seems unlikely.

And then there is this statement from the story: “Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil’s beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain.”


But here is the clincher from the AP story:

Costa said the vast majority of penguins turning up are baby birds that have just left the nest and are unable to out-swim the strong ocean currents they encounter while searching for food.

Mr. Cooper, your story is all wet. The Mirror should issue a retraction.

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July 20, 2008 10:27 pm

The article says they die if soaked to the skin by cold water. To migrate from Antarctica they’d have to swim in cold water. That doesn’t make sense.
What would make sense would be that the article is based upon the penguins flying to escape the rain. There would seem to be a failure of fact checking of some kind.

July 20, 2008 10:29 pm

Here’s an article about the penguins washing up on the beach in Rio in Wired magazine, with an AP byline:
It goes into a bit more depth, but doesn’t mention global warming at all. Rather, the two potential culprits this article fingers are over fishing and general pollution.

July 20, 2008 10:35 pm

Adelie penguins breed in December. “In March, the adults and their young return to the sea.” How long have these chicks been flying to escape the rain?

July 20, 2008 10:38 pm

Dear Anthony
I am astonished by this part of the article you reproduced.
“Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil’s beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain.”
This is a complete absurd. I cannot stress in words how false this information is. I am a 71-year old man that has been working in weather forecast for decades. My initial graduation was Biology. Penguins always, I repeat always, came ashore in our coast during this time of this year. They migrate to seek food. Many are young and do not resist. They perform in a “food marathon”, taking “ride” in the Malvinas/Falklands sea current. This time of the year the current is stronger and closer to the shore. Many of them do not resist and are taken to the sand. Some come ashore already dead, but many are rescued alive and treated in centers dedicated to oceanography.,,MUL608271-5598,00.html
The great menace to penguins in or shores are fishing and oil spills from boats in the sea. There is one paper (in English) on their food patterns here in the coast of Rio Grande do Sul state, southernmost state of Brazil.
Another paper (in English) also stress that the great menace to them are not environmental conditions in Antartica, but the human activity in the sea much farther to the north:
The following is a very interesting article on the migration of the penguins and why so many die in the shores of South America:
Note that there is no mention to weather conditions in the south pole, but ocean pollution.
Global warming should bring warmer oceans. But what may be taking a toll in ththe coast of South America is a COLDER South Atlantic (in English):
So, my friend Anthony, this is one more example of very bad journalism.
My best wishes to you and congratulations for your outstanding job.
Eugenio Hackbart
Chief Meteorologist – MetSul Weather Center
ICECAP Contributor
Sao Leopoldo – State of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil

July 20, 2008 11:09 pm

Satellite data only goes back 30 years, not 50, but in those 30 the data shows not even a tenth of a degree of warming – much less 3C! (data here). I guess things could have warmed in the prior 20, but that is fairly doubtful given that most of the world was cooling, not warming, in the 60’s and 70’s. Even the egregious GISTEMP shows only a half degree C warming since about 1950, and this data has been shown to be pretty suspect.
There are a couple of isolated spots on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula which have warmed more than 1C over the past decades. This may be yet another example of the media extrapolating Antarctic-wide trends from this anomalous 2% of the continent (sort of like making judgments about weather in Denver from data measured in Key West).

July 20, 2008 11:15 pm
July 21, 2008 12:21 am

I can see a comic strip… A scene of several little baby penguins bobbing around in a churning sea. One of them says “I was born this morning…” Next panel: “Since then I’ve learned many things…” Next panel: “While I was in the middle of learning one thing or another, it started to rain.” Next panel: “We all ran very fast and jumped into the sea so we would not get wet.” Next panel: “Pretty smart, huh?” Last panel: “After all, we weren’t born yesterday!”

Evan Jones
July 21, 2008 12:33 am

This is more than a reach. This is boardinghouse reach.

July 21, 2008 12:40 am

A few weeks ago. On American TV there was a claim of the south african penguin having to move to escape the raising tempertures.
If the South African penguin is in trouble? And GISS is correct. I’m not sure how they survived the warmer tempertures of the 30’s.
Maybe they want to pair up Chilly Willy and Maxie the polar bear again?

Pierre Gosselin
July 21, 2008 12:40 am

Fact checking?
Facts are inconvenient. The target here is to brinwash and cause the population to stampede in panic.
Facts! Those are just meaningless details. Who can bother with them.
For AGW alarmists every day is climate Halloween.

July 21, 2008 12:42 am

This is only going to get worse. Until the majority public rises up and explicitly states they are fed up with these stories, the lying propaganda will only continue to flow in at an increased rate that would make Comrade Stalin blush.

July 21, 2008 12:57 am

You must realise that the Sunday Mirror is written by cretins, for morons to read. I hasten to add that you do not fit into either category. The MSM in the UK is abysmally poor and I decline to read, let alone purchase such piffle.
Your work, and Icecap, Climate Audit, CO2 Sceptics etc., are all required reading and are often referenced at because we believe global cooling will topple the socialist EU cabal that is promoting the destruction of the western nations including the USA.

Stef Pugsley
July 21, 2008 1:27 am

I’m sorry, but this is The Mirror news paper. What are we expecting? I’m just surprised that the global warming was blamed on illegal immigrants or the contestants on Big Brother.

July 21, 2008 1:46 am

Just another “fact” from here
Penguins are now enjoying a population boom. Their increasing numbers can be partly attributed to the over-fishing of baleen whales in the past which has resulted in a super-abundance of krill, a key species in the Antarctic ecosystem. In addition to krill, penguins feed heavily on fish, squid, and other small crustaceans.

July 21, 2008 1:55 am

Another alarmist headline which doesn’t match the text
Headline – Penguin population plunge points to climate havoc
Text –
Boersma said the decline appears to have begun in the early 1980s after the population at the site peaked probably at about 400,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins between the late 1960s and mid-1970s. Today’s total is half of that.
The world’s warming climate is only one of the causes of the penguins’ problems, she said. They also are threatened by oil pollution, depletion of fisheries, becoming entangled in fishing nets, and coastal development that eliminates breeding habitats, according to Boersma.
Most scientists recognize 17 species of penguins, and they live in Earth’s southern hemisphere. Penguins are beautifully adapted to life in the ocean, residing in places as different as the warm Galapagos islands and icy Antarctica.
But many species have been experiencing population declines in Antarctica, Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands, Boersma said.
The number of Galapagos penguins, the only species with a range that inches into the northern hemisphere, has slipped to around 2,500 birds, about a quarter of its total in the 1970s.

F Rasmin
July 21, 2008 2:09 am

Anthony. So as to encompass as many buyers as possible,the majority of newspapers in the western world have their headlines constructed for people with a reading age of twelve years. The UK Mirror has its headlines constructed for a reading age of ten years. This is with the hope that no small change is left uncollected. Distance between yourself and this rag does not reveal that everything in it, and I mean everything, should be considerd with these thoughts in mind. Every bird cage in Britain has its botton lined with a copy of the Mirror! (or should if it isnt!).

Leon Brozyna
July 21, 2008 2:26 am

What?!! It’s not on the BBC? How’d they miss that story?
The penguins are dying!
The polar bears are dying!
The koala bears are dying!
Cute and cuddly animals everywhere are dying!
And it’s all because of global warming.
Facts? Why bother with facts? It’s a cute animal; it tugs at the heartstrings; it must be global warming; why else would animals this cute be dying?
Now, a warning notice for WWF et al ~ these false cries of alarm to score some immediate propaganda points will backfire on you when you’re in a fundraising campaign for a real crisis. People will become numb to the plights of animals after you’ve beaten the subject to death. I tune out every story about the plights of animals of all kinds; the subject is boringly predictable.

July 21, 2008 3:21 am

[…] Nutty Story of the Day: “Global Warming” is Killing the Penguins in Antarctica « Watts Up With … […]

Roger Pascoe
July 21, 2008 3:59 am

In a similar vein, I imagine most of your British readers will remember the inhabitants of the south- east corner, namely Kent, being exhorted three years ago to plant their gardens with cacti, and without further ado, as that area was predicted on the back of a dry summer to become arid semi – desert, due to rampant AGW.
The area’s main reservoir, Bewl water, has subsequently never been below 50% full, and at the height of what passes for summer this year currently stands at 94% capacity!
Again, no apology or backtracking, just silence ………
Back to the penguins – could this all be connected to the story of the Emperors new clothes?

July 21, 2008 4:02 am

Is that If so. Is there an english version?

July 21, 2008 4:23 am

The Mirror isnt the only one. All (say that again -ALL) the newspapers and TV (The licensed media) are at it. They may all be morons and cretins but it does help raise the profile and legitimacy of the hacks to help them make more money and win prizes!.
One has to ask “where are the professional Skeptics in all this?”

July 21, 2008 4:35 am

Sorry – OT (again!) – but I see that Dr Vincent Gray has resigned from the Royal Society in New Zealand. This must have been a tough decision for him giving his long association with the Society. This seems important to me – do you think it’s worth running a piece on it?

July 21, 2008 4:43 am

Sorry for a non-scientific comment, but the pinguin refugee picture raise questions. Should US open it’s borders to the pinguins? Isn’t this a topic Gore shall add to his lectures?
I agree that the Mirror is probably as the “kvallstidning” ( = almost tabloid ) Expressen in Sweden (4th biggets Swedish news paper), and their pinguins:
However I’m not surpsiced if also the quality news paper print this. (It has had articles that Earth is like Venus and may be hundreds of degrees warm.)
Expressen also proved there will soon be Golf courses on Antarctica. Grass is expanding. See a picture with …pinguins:

July 21, 2008 4:46 am

(Sorry misspelling penguins. 😛 )

Tom in Florida
July 21, 2008 4:58 am

Not being a weatherman and all, but how does it rain when the temperature is -14 degrees?

Robert Ray
July 21, 2008 5:07 am

This penguin flap may have some of its roots in a paper published in the July edition of the journal Bioscience by University of Washington biologist P. Dee Boersma. It appears the media; in it’s normal style, has cut and pasted from various sources and over dramatized the story leading to the current penguin press pile on.

July 21, 2008 5:23 am

National Geographic has a story about rain soaked penguin deaths at .
The story was posted July 2 but refers to “a five-day stretch of torrential rains on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula” in January. I wonder if that story was mixed in with others to create the subject fiction.
A Google search for ‘”Jon Bowermaster” penguin’ brought up as a first hit which might deserve some discussion. It does further convince me that Antarctic discussions should be split into at least two regions – the peninsula and everything else.

July 21, 2008 5:24 am

Sorry. Did I toss my last post in the spam filter by putting in web address?
I’ll ask again without the address.
Is that web address sceptics dot org? If so. Is there an english version?

Matt Annecharico
July 21, 2008 6:01 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but unless they changed the AP article, there is mention of GW as a reason for the baby jumpers..

Bill Illis
July 21, 2008 6:09 am

The Penguins have to go much farther North than normal right now to find food.
Why, because the southern ocean is frozen solid at least 1,000 kms toward Brazil from Antarctica.
Last year, the sea ice reached South Georgia Island and is likely to do so again this year since it is already close.

July 21, 2008 6:09 am

I suspect that the “baby chick penguins” freezing in the rain comes from here (Note that the story refers to events in January):
The Mirror story looks like sombody has taken a bit of creative license and melded this with the AP story (that Anthony linked to in the lead post) to suggest that they are somehow linked.

Bill Marsh
July 21, 2008 6:26 am

Isn’t the Mirror roughly equivalent to the US ‘National Enquirer’? It looks like they are trying to emulate ‘The Onion’, an exceedingly funny ‘news source’.
Anymouse, lol at the vision of Penguins flying, especially Penguin ‘chicks’.

Pierre Gosselin
July 21, 2008 6:30 am

It can be anything, except the sun.
Another could-have, might-have, maybe, perhaps, likely etc. story.

July 21, 2008 6:31 am

I think I found the sources at National Geographic. This is my first post here so I will try to get the formatting correct.
The first article looks to be the source for many of the Mirror’s numbers:
Adelie Penguins Extinct in a Decade in Some Areas?-
Notice the deceptive title? The use of the sensitive word “extinct” (when referring to animal species) qualified by the words “in some areas” makes it easy to misinterpret the point that the penguin colonies may be moving to different locations.
Some relevant quotes from this article:
Some populations of the birds are thriving, but most are declining rapidly.
The penguins rely on winter sea ice as a platform for feeding on ocean krill. But they also need the ice to shrink in the summer so they can access their breeding colonies on land.
OK, so they breed on land (important later).
said Bill Fraser, an ecologist with the Polar Oceans Research Group in Sheridan, Montana. “The mid-winter temperatures are now around 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit [6 degrees Celsius] higher than they were 50 years ago. If the trend continues, Fraser predicts that Adélie penguins will be locally extinct within five to ten years.
Prediction of local extinction in 5 to 10 years. Dubious temperature change claim.
Since Fraser began to study Antarctic penguins in 1974, he has seen the Adélie population in the western Antarctic Peninsula shrink by 80 percent.
So an 80 percent decrease is claimed by Fraser, but only in one specific area in the last 34 years.
“The peninsula is undergoing warming that in the wintertime is almost 5.5 times the global average,” Martinson said. [There’s] got to be some other source of heat that’s melting the glaciers and raising the air temperature, and the most obvious source is the ocean.”
Despite lack of any evidence for these claims, even this guy thinks there are other abnormal heat sources peculiar to this specific area.
But it’s not all bad news for the Adélies, said Fraser of the Polar Oceans Research Group. As the Antarctic Peninsula heats up, southern parts of Antarctica have become more hospitable homes for the species. Adélie populations in the far southern peninsula have tripled in previous decades, Fraser said.
“Pound for pound, an Adélie penguin can deal with just about anything,” Fraser said.
Wow, so the penguins are going to be OK? You had me scared for a few minutes there, Fraser.
On to our second article:
Penguin Chicks Frozen by Global Warming?-
Ironic title, isn’t it?
This January—deep summer in Antarctica—explorer Jon Bowermaster suffered through a five-day stretch of torrential rains on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The same cannot be said for thousands of downy penguin chicks. Epic rains are unusual in Antarctica, even in summer, said Bowermaster
Again, this is on the western side where we previously saw claims that the population has been decreasing for the last 34 years. And the rains were called “unusual”.
At night, when the mercury dipped below freezing, the wet chicks froze.
I can see how that would happen, if the parents were both out getting food (I don’t know the parenting habits of these particular penguins). But this is an “unusual” event.
[Dee Boersma of the University of Washington] and her colleagues have watched that population decline by 22 percent since 1987, with the biggest drop coming in 1991 after a major oil spill. The colony has also lost members to fishing nets, starvation linked to overfishing, and shifting ocean currents that force penguins to swim farther from their nests to feed.
There are other forces at work here too.
Here is another article that seems to be an extended version of the Mirror’s (possibly their source or they both used the same source):
The baby Antarctic penguins being frozen to death by freak rain storms-
Both these UK articles seem to be a mashup of several different articles, taking many claims out of context.

John Thorpe
July 21, 2008 6:44 am

You perhaps shouldn’t have included recent temperatures in your debunk as clearly the chicks will have been born at the end of summer, when temperatures will have been a lot higher. These kind of mistakes are what the alarmists jump on to dismiss the arguments we make against stupid scare stories like this – we have to keep alert!
Apart from that, Sunday Mirror… you’ll be lucky to find a triple digit IQ anywhere near this rag, don’t worry about it influencing anybody important!

July 21, 2008 6:54 am

UAH Antarctic temperature data for June:
The Antarctic continent saw its third coldest June in 30 years, with temperatures averaging -1.53 C cooler than the seasonal norm. Portions of Anarctica south of Australia were as much as 5.5 C (9.9 degrees Fahrenehit) colder than seasonal norms for the first month of winter.

July 21, 2008 7:33 am

Mark, you say:
“The Mirror isnt the only one. All (say that again -ALL) the newspapers and TV (The licensed media) are at it.”
If you look at the up-market newspapers in the UK, I’d say The Independent is rabidly green, The Telegraph is pretty sceptical, and The Times doesn’t seem to care that much one way or the other.
That leaves The Guardian, which has a very large on-line readership (2 million plus, I think). As is befitting a lefty newspaper, its editorial position is green.
I’ll never forget the highly critical review its environmental correspondent gave to “The Great Warming Scandal” when it was shown on Channel 4 last year, before admitting halfway through the review that he hadn’t actually watched the program at all – if he had of, he said, he knew he would have been so enraged he would have thrown a flowerpot at his TV.
But The Guardian’s popular “Comment Is Free” blog is another matter completely. Last year, I reckon posters used to divide roughly 50 – 50. These days it seems it’s more like 60-40 sceptics to AGW-ers, if not more.

Paul O
July 21, 2008 7:36 am

Wired magazine is getting into the act:

“I don’t think the levels of pollution are high enough to affect the birds so quickly. I think instead we’re seeing more young and sick penguins because of global warming, which affects ocean currents and creates more cyclones, making the seas rougher,” Costa said.

July 21, 2008 7:44 am

Todd Carmichael is a 44-year-old entrepreneur and adventurer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
For someone who has experienced “freaky weather” in the Antarctic up close and personal, reports this week that baby Antarctic penguins are freezing to death due to “freak rain storms,” came as no surprise.
Fellow explorer Jon Bowermaster had this to say:
Everyone talks about the melting of the glaciers but having day after day of rain in Antarctica is a totally new phenomenon. As a result, penguins are literally freezing to death.”

Jeff Alberts
July 21, 2008 7:49 am

Of course all this brouhaha is over the West Antarctic Peninsula, most of which isn’t even within the Antarctic.

Leon Brozyna
July 21, 2008 8:04 am

Re: Paul H Clark (04:35:08)
Here’s a link to the story of Dr. Vicent Gray resigning his membership in the Royal Society of New Zealand:
He’s quite passionate in his presentation.

Brett Murray
July 21, 2008 8:21 am

You mentioned not easily finding recent temperature data for Antarctica. The Weather underground website ( shows Antarctica temperatures and recent data can be accessed by clicking on individual stations.
Vostok is reporting -88F… I can’t imagine that weather.

Joe Black
July 21, 2008 8:32 am

I thought the penguin issue was due to Polar Bears holding summer penguin barbecues. I’ve seen the pictures on the web.

July 21, 2008 8:37 am

You have to wonder how the press allows stories like these to get published without some basic fact checking.
Do you? Really?

July 21, 2008 8:37 am

John Thorpe (06:44:21) :
The article in question claimed that the deaths were recent, so current temperatures is releveant.

George Bruce
July 21, 2008 8:54 am

Oh, those poor baby penguins. They are so cute and so pitiful.
How can you be so heartless, Anthony?

July 21, 2008 9:02 am

John Thorpe:
According to the story dated 7/20/08:

Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil’s beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain.

Anthony is merely quoting the story and illustrating the incompetence of the writers. It sounds to me from reading the story as if the events transpired, well, yesterday.

Mike Bryant
July 21, 2008 9:22 am

I know this is off topic. But I need some help with this. I was thinking about the photo that shows the subs at the north pole in may ’87 so I decided to look at the comparative images at Cryosphere Today. Wow am I confused now. For one thing, most images for the year ’87 are not available. Also I finally found an image for September 20, 1987 so I compared it to July 20, 2008. Well, I think it is pretty obvious that the ice extent now is much more than it was then. However when I looked at “The Tale of the Tape” graph it seems that the anomaly is flipped around backwards. Am I crazy or what? Any help appreciated.

Mike C
July 21, 2008 10:15 am

My, oh my, how the assumptions pile up. It seems that no one in any of the press stories has considered the maximum sea ice concentrations in Antarctica this past year. If penguins tend to their young on land then have to waddle out an extra mile or two to get to a feeding ground then I can understand why they would flock to a new location.
This story reminds me of “The Climate Bureaucrat” story on Russ Steele’s site.

Fernando Mafili ( in Brazil)
July 21, 2008 10:56 am

Dear Master: Eugenio Hackbart
Congratulations: Excellent clarification.
As usual manner. Put the media in its place.
polar bear = penguin = hoax
Leon Brozyna……..ok
Bill Illis……………..ok
Pierre Gosselin……ok
best regards

July 21, 2008 11:01 am

Paul H Clark (04:35:08:
“Sorry – OT (again!) – but I see that Dr Vincent Gray has resigned from the Royal Society in New Zealand. This must have been a tough decision for him giving his long association with the Society. This seems important to me – do you think it’s worth running a piece on it?”
Me too!. Err, I hate me too posts. I concur! Not good enough. I can add:
I don’t know enough about the two sides, but it certainly seems like he resigned because nothing else has gotten their attention. I imagine his action is also meant to get the IPCC’s attention.
Well worth reading is his

July 21, 2008 11:20 am

Save the Penguins! [click]

July 21, 2008 11:22 am

Thanks for the post. I saw the article earlier and thought it didn’t pass the sniff test.

July 21, 2008 11:52 am

What’s needed is a legal war chest. When some clown lies to the media, sue them until they bleed.

July 21, 2008 11:53 am

“The Tale of the Tape” graph it seems that the anomaly is flipped around backwards. Am I crazy or what?”
There is some kind of error on the global ice coverage graph. They don’t update it every day. Give it a couple of days to correct.

July 21, 2008 11:54 am

And when the media fabricates things as they did in this case, sue the $#!# out of them as well.
Reply: Steve, implied profanity is frowned upon~Charles the moderator AKA jeez.
P.S. We should get together for a beer sometime.

Bill Marsh
July 21, 2008 12:31 pm

The thing that strikes me as odd is the fact that the Penguins are going to a country known for its RAINFORESTS to escape rain. Guess they aren’t the brightest blubs then.

William F
July 21, 2008 1:24 pm

Morons read the Sunday Mirror, it is a tabloid, and morons write for it.

Michael Jankowski
July 21, 2008 1:28 pm

The article I read (picked up by yahoo) had biologist Costa saying AGW had impacted ocean currents and cyclones, and that’s why these weak swimming baby penguins are dying.
No attempts were made to correlate deaths with ocean currents or cyclones, of course. That would be outside of a biologist’s expertists, I guess.

July 21, 2008 2:00 pm

Are there any recent population surveys of these penguin species? One reason for more of them washing up could be that there are more of them overall. As populations increase, I would expect to see the number of dead ones washing up on various shorelines also increase.

David Gladstone
July 21, 2008 3:06 pm

It’s not just the Mirror; CNN has just run the tease for this piece, so it will be on air soon. I wrote this to CNN.
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 14:57:04 -0700
Situation Room has reached a new low, seemingly, by running this story that is guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of unsuspecting and credulous digesters of American news Sausage, news content, liberally laced with propaganda and commercial advertising determined by their corporate masters. In running a piece of manipulative propaganda like this, which has already been refuted, and which has no supporting evidence; indeed an attempt at mass manipulation Eddie Bernays would have been proud of. That this station never acknowledges the level of serious debate within the scientific community even when such debate actually makes news, reflects incompetence and perhaps a more sinister agenda. Last weeks’ announcement from the American Physical Society rejecting the contentions made by supporters of the AGW theory wasn’t mentioned on this network which spends 24 hours a day stretching the definition of news like it was warm Bonomo taffy!

July 21, 2008 3:12 pm

As far as I can tell the population of Adelie penguins is increasing overall at a rate of about 1% per year. There are places where the populations are decreasing and places where they are increasing. The greatest increase seems to be the Ross Sea area of Antarctica. In any case, the Adelie penguin is currently listed as being under “no threat”.

July 21, 2008 3:27 pm

Reply: Steve, implied profanity is frowned upon~Charles the moderator AKA jeez.

But implied references to being a deity are acceptable for the intelligent Creator of the site. 🙂
Also, Adelie penguin populations are stable or slightly increasing. I don’t know the past causes of infant mortality; they must be dying sometime, as I don’t see any on the highway.
“World population: estimated to 2 million breeding pairs. …
Archipelago’s population: 29 182 breeding pairs in 1984, 30 369 in 1990.
Threats: none. Population in slight increase (1% a year) almost everywhere”
“In the last 30 years, populations of Adélie penguins on the South Orkney Islands have fluctuated”
(Why do they only mention one group of Adelies?)

July 21, 2008 3:33 pm

An Inconvenient Truth alarmed us all with the heart-wrenchingly realistic drowning polar bear cartoon. Maybe An Inconvenient Truth II will alarm us with an equally heart-wrenching cartoon of rained-on penguin chicks.

July 21, 2008 3:52 pm

Hmmm. When bodies of dead cold water birds/mammals happen to wash up on the beach here in Florida, we’re told it is due to “global warming”.
So they’re coming to Florida for refuge from the warm polar regions. All righty, then.

Steve S
July 21, 2008 3:56 pm

Apparently the Mirror did’nt realize this little piece from the BBC was meant in jest:

F Rasmin
July 21, 2008 4:01 pm

Never forget that Britain is a ‘democracy’, and every reader of the Mirror has a vote equal to that of every reader of The Times. I would think that when it comes to level of IQ, who would you target if you wished the government to hear a message?

July 21, 2008 4:14 pm

I wonder what the learned biologist thinks happens to the penguins when they go for a swim in the sea. Perhaps seawater has some magic anti-wetting agent in it that we have not yet discovered.

Vincent Guerrini
July 21, 2008 6:12 pm

NH artic ice nowhere near last years melt looks more like 1980 (when satellite pics started)

Mike C
July 21, 2008 6:36 pm

“How long does it take the Emperor Penguins to make their trek to/from the group to feed ?
The distance can be anywhere from 60 to 250 km depending on ice extension, and it takes them an average of a week, one way. Add to this a week to fish and replenish their fat supply so it can take them a good month to do the round trip. If the ice extends particularly far that year, the long turn around times increase the mortality among the chicks who cannot be fed enough in time. ”
Imagine that, global warming good for Penguins and they repopulate, then when you have a cold year like this year the excess dies off

July 21, 2008 7:15 pm

Way back (like 1982-83) I was in a deep field party in Antactica. One of the jobs we did was count the Adelie penguins in the colonies around Inexpressible Island. From the work I did there, I can see lots wrong in the article.
Most penguin chicks die. The adults usually lay two eggs, but after hatching, generally only feed the bigger one. The predation by skuas is significant, as well as those who die because their parents get eaten by orcas or leopard seals. The birds don’t go in the water until they have lost all their down. Towards the end of the season, all the adults just abandon the nesting site. Those birds that haven’t got all their adult plumage just die on the beach (one sees them pacing backwards and forwards waiting for their parents or their feathers) so the water edge is littered in carcases, that don’t rot. I’d estimate the actual survival rate eggs to 1 year old would be less than 25%. Even so, the Adelie is one of the most common penguins with massive colonies across Antarctica. I believe their main diet is krill so overfishing shouldn’t directly affect them.There are a lot more threatened penguin species than Adelies.
I’d put the story down to another junk science beat-up.

July 22, 2008 12:43 am

I don’t really believe in global warming 0.0 It’s funny how even though global warming is just a theory and there are so many controversial stuff to it that most people believe that global warming is truly real. Well, I could argue against that, depending on what your perception of “global warming” is.

July 22, 2008 5:47 am

haha, thanks for the laugh. i needed that today, especially after, in recent weeks, hearing so many liberal environmentalist hippies bitch about how the whole damn planet is going to turn into a sea of magma because we use air conditioners and cars. really? get over yourselves and got hug a tree, for god’s sake, but quit ruining the politics of MY country.

July 22, 2008 8:50 am

This global warming is going pretty Antarctica??

July 22, 2008 10:10 am

Probably too many penguins….. Not enough tucker. Don’t go blaming fishing either… Fish cycle too.
Once again something natural, in the hands of the media, becomes a climate catastrophe.

Negative Working Capital
July 23, 2008 7:19 am

Nutty story alert !
Global Warming is causing more homeless kittens !!!
(I wish I were kidding)

July 23, 2008 9:50 am

Here is a slightly off topic report from the Norwegian weather service (with my translation to english below) about the Arctic ice cover status:
More ice than normal around Svalbard
Several scientists had expected little ice in the Arctic, but the status for july is that there is more ice around Svalbard than normal.
Therese Gruehagen
Asle Hella
The thickness of the ice is varying, and two ships recently got stuck north of Spitsbergen.
Not all that unusual
The Ice Service at the weather report centre for northern Norway has compared the ice cover in july with what it was in 1980. When one looks at the period from 1980 and up until today, most years have had normal ice cover with open waters around the north coast of Spitsbergen towards the northern inlet Hinlopen, and with ice along the coast of Nordaustlandet and in the southern Hinlopen.
– But lots of ice around Spitsbergen is not all that unusual. Similar ice conditions as this year also happened in 1980, 1990, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003, says the head of the Ice Service in Tromsø, Nick Hughes.
Years with very little or very much ice
* In 1984 and 2002 there was very little ice, that means ice was only found only along parts of the Nordaustlandet coast.
* In 2006 there was exceptionally little ice, and open waters around the whole Svalbard group of islands.
* Years with very much ice in southern parts of Svalbard includes 1982, 1993 aqnd 2004, that is approximately once per decade.

July 24, 2008 3:00 pm

Yet another risible example of the world’s media doing what they have been told to do by their owners.
If the case is closed on AGW, why are scientists who offer contrary evidence ostricised from their community and immediately accused of being in league with the devil – e.g. any oil company – and have their career’s blighted?
There are plenty of other valid theories as to what drives climate change, with man-made carbon dioxide being only a very small part of the equation. The world has been through many periods of dramatic climate changes in its long history, all effectively achieved without the influence of man.
Lets stop spending billions of dollars in a futile attempt to reduce the amount of carbon we produce and start spending the money on finding out about the real drivers of climate, so we can develop good predictions of what is going to happen and, if possible, prepare to mitigate any negative effects.

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