Longtime readers of WUWT may remember this story from 2008:
The root of this goes back as far as 2006, such as this MSNBC story:
Now it appears that assertion of a link between global warming and penguin deaths is dying faster than the penguins themselves. In what appears to be a manifestation of the observer effect problem in science (the act of observing changes the outcome) we have this article from the science journal Nature that says the act of tagging penguins so they can be tracked by researchers, seems to have a significant side effect on their life expectancy (mortality) and ability to reproduce. The article goes on to question a climate connection.
Flipper-banding reduces penguins fitness and skews climate data
Here’s a news story:
PARIS (AFP) – 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, biologists said on Wednesday.
The metal bands, looped tightly around the top of the flipper where it meets the body, have long been used as a low-cost visual aid by researchers to identify individual penguins when they waddle ashore.
Foot tags are not used because of the penguin’s anatomical shape.
But, says the new study, the seemingly harmless bands affect the penguin’s swimming performance, causing it to waste more energy in foraging for food, sometimes with life-threatening consequences.
Publishing in the journal Nature, French and Norwegian scientists reported that they took 100 king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), selected at random on Possession Island on the Crozet archipelago, a sub-Antarctic group in the southern Indian ocean.
All were tagged with a minute, electronic transponder that was implanted under the skin, which can only be read by using specialist equipment placed close to the bird. Fifty of the 100 birds were additionally given a flipper band.
The team then recorded sightings of the group over the next 10 years.
Banded birds were 16 percent likelier to die than non-banded counterparts, and had 39 percent fewer chicks, they report.
“The picture is unambiguous,” researcher Yvon Le Maho told AFP. “Among banded penguins, the least-fit individuals died out in the first five years of the study, which left super-athletic birds.
“In the remaining five years, the mortality rate between the two groups was the same, but the reproductive success of banded penguins was 39 percent lower on average.”
Le Maho said he had warned many years ago against banding penguins on ethical grounds but was sidelined. Opponents argued that the birds were not affected by the practice or got used to the tag after a year or so.
The latest findings, though, are unequivocal, he said.
Entire story here
Here’s a video from Nature on the issue:
You can add “Penguins killed by AGW” to the trashbin along with the now disproven Frogs being killed by AGW hype.
Oh and let’s not forget the fact that the whole of the continent of Antarctica has been shown not to have any statistically significant warming (except in the peninsula, which may be affected by weather station issues, since most Antarctic weather stations are near a warm pocket of humanity, i.e. researchers) by our skeptical scientist friends Jeff Condon and Ryan O’Donnell.
Yeah, it’s all about the warming in Antarctica, it couldn’t possibly be anything else.