Claim: Melting Antarctic Ice is depleting whale food sources

suntanning whale

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The University of Western Australia, former home of Professor Lewandowsky, has published a new report which claims that whales are suffering, because their food sources are being depleted by melting Antarctic sea ice.

According to the press release;

“If the ice declines in the area that these forage in, then that will reduce krill and that will reduce how much food they have,” Ms [Janelle] Braithwaite said.

“Whales live this feast and fast lifestyle.

“Over the summer they’re feasting up on krill down in the Southern Ocean but once they leave, they’re pretty much fasting during their migration journey.

“It’s a bit like a car, if there’s not enough petrol at the petrol station, then you’re setting off with three quarters of a tank and you might not be able to make it.

“If these whales run out of petrol before they get back to the Southern Ocean, then there’s no safety net, they will die from exhaustion.”

Read more:

The abstract of the study:

Krill (Euphausia superba) are fundamentally important in the Southern Ocean ecosystem, forming a critical food web link between primary producers and top predators. Krill abundance fluctuates with oceanographic conditions, most notably variation in winter sea ice, and is susceptible to environmental change. Although links between local krill availability and performance of land breeding, central place foragers are recognised, the effects of krill variability on baleen whales remain largely unclear because concurrent long-term data on whale condition and krill abundance do not exist. Here, we quantify links between whale body condition and krill abundance using a simple model that links krill abundance to sea ice extent. Body condition of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) caught in west Australian waters between 1947 and 1963 was estimated from oil yields in whaling records. Annual estimates of krill abundance in the Southern Ocean where those whales foraged (70°–130°E) were correlated significantly with contemporary annual winter sea ice extent. We hindcast sea ice extent for the whaling period from reconstructed temperature data and found that whale body condition was significantly correlated with hindcasted winter sea ice extent, supporting the hypothesis that variations in body condition were likely mediated by associated krill fluctuations. As humpback whales migrate and breed on finite energy stores accrued during summer foraging in the Antarctic, changes in sea ice and concomitant changes in krill abundance have long-term implications for their condition and reproductive success.

Read more:

The question in my mind is, since rising CO2 levels have been correlated with the record busting growth of Antarctic sea ice, for at least the last few decades, shouldn’t we burn as much coal as possible to help the whales?


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Golly, I do not know quite what to say. Perhaps the author wants to suggest that we cull the whale herds to bring their numbers back in line with the food supply. This would be very ecological and a good demonstration of our understanding of the balance of nature.

David, UK

Golly, Tony, are you really that stupid?

David, UK

Oops, apologies Tony – this is what happens when one reads things the wrong way. You meant the author of the paper, not the author of this post! Stupid = me! Sorry.

Bryan A

Interesting that “Melting Antarctic Ice is depleting Whale food sources” given that, so far this year, the Antarctic Sea Ice is above the historic mean for greater than 98% of the continent
This image from the NSIDC shows current extent and the mean in orange. There are very few places where the mean level is indicated over open water

Bryan A

Perhaps all that Ice is blocking their access to their food sources home turf

Unless you follow fishery issues, and the agenda driven science, there is a huge disconnect from common sense. If you find yourself looking at 15, 20 thousand Grey Seals on Cape Cod, ( 11 million in Canada) because the Marine Mammal Protection Act of forty years has allowed the population to explode, here and In Canada, the Cod are supposedly in trouble. NOAA can’t seem to find them. (that should be noaa surprise!)
There is no Cod near Cape Cod. There is dogfish, though!
Seals and dog’s eat Cod. Herring do too.
We now have, through management, an over abundance of Cod predators that are not included predator/prey inclusions in the models for stock assessments, Oh! almost forgot water temperature neither.
So. If ya wanna grow Cod, why would they consider a good demonstration of our understanding of the balance of nature, use real data, and grow Cod by harvesting the predators to the levels they were forty years ago, when we had huge amounts of Cod.
Cod are on the move, too. NOAA can’t find ’em.


We need an organisation like GreenPeace to help the cod.
How about CodPeace?

Mark and two Cats — Great comment – I gauge it at a minimum of at least 2 groans and a huge guffaw!

Gary M

Did I miss something? In the article I see: could, may, if; no is or even will.
A non story?
I know it is their agenda, but I listen to what is not said, as much as what is said.

Bloke down the pub

Nothing to do with the krill being scooped up by factory ships, for conversion in to fish pellets to feed farmed salmon then?

“The present estimate for the biomass of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is 379 million tonnes.[1] The total global harvest of krill from all fisheries amounts to 150–200,000 tonnes annually, mainly Antarctic krill and North Pacific krill (E. pacifica).”
Not so much…

Mike McMillan

Let them eat sharks.


The problem with that is there are roughly 50,000,000 sharks killed each year just for their fins. The actual number are likely quite a bit higher for reasons of by catch, etc.


Just for their fins? Would you be happier if it were for their livers?
And why is this a problem?

How about we cut of your arms and throw you back to live or die? Or maybe harvest a few of your organs first?
“And why would that be a problem?”
Well maybe it won’t be until we have fished the oceans to the edge of extinction.
Soylent Green Anyone?
Sarc/off with apologies to Gamecock and anyone offended by the mental images.
(I produce my own Rainbow Trout in a pond beside my house, no need to rape the oceans.)
I do agree fisheries and oceans management is a pending disaster, we know so little.

I saw a whale fin once, but it was just a fluke.


Wow …. that sounds like a huge exaggeration. Where did you get that information?


What’s the Global population of sharks? I just did a Google search and the only number I could find was 500 million. Most of the posts were about the 100 million sharks killed each year. At that rate, the entire population should have been wiped out years ago. I think your number of 50 million is wildly exaggerated.

Leo Morgan

@ Wayne Delbeke
You make a false equivalence between man and shark in your reply to Gamecock.
It is enough to speak of abhorring unnecessary cruelty, and the horrific death the shark suffers. If you go too far, and equate sharks and your rhetorical colleagues, then they can fairly reply the sharks deserve to be executed. Many sharks have fed on other younger sharks.
This is a carnivorous world, with predators tearing their flesh from the bodies of their living prey. Humans are the only carnivores on Earth -not.
Carnivorous sharks live this lifestyle at least as voraciously as the most carnivorous human being, so in terms of justice and nature alike, it’s fair to ask “What’s the problem (with the biter being bit)?”
And in terms of ecosystems, it’s a net benefit to the lower level in the food chain. Your Soylent Green reference exactly misstates the situation; the fewer sharks the more abundantly the oceans produce.
tl, dr You’re entitled to critique shark de-finning as reprehensible animal cruelty. But not to anthropomorphise sharks.


But on the east coast of Australia whales are going north and south in record numbers. If sea ice is decreasing and therefore reducing the amount of krill, and therefore whale body condition, then surely the numbers of whales sighted should be decreasing?
Perhaps what they are saying is that the numbers of whales travelling north and south off the east coast of Australia is increasing, therefore the amount of krill must be increasing to provided their food and therefore the amount of sea ice must be increasing.
Somehow the sentences in the abstract seem a bit jumbled.

old construction worker

How did the poor whales ever survive the MWP, Roman warm period and the Holocene Climate Optimum.


“How did the poor whales ever survive the MWP”
Simple, that was a different type of warming way back then, this warming is totally unprecedented.
Warming of this magnitude could quite possible boil all of the krill in situ. A positive side effect; it would end world hunger.


expand that question by adding in. “When whale populations were far, far, higher than they currently are, so there were many more animals competing for the resources.”


I guess whales nowadays have little to no blubber, and once they run out of blubber then they start metabolizing their muscles – or is that mussels? No, whales don’t eat mussels.

Climate Change is now responsible for anorexia in Antarctic whale populations? Of course! That really ties it all together……

Dodgy Geezer

…The question in my mind is… shouldn’t we burn as much coal as possible to help the whales?…
The question in my mind is, where to start disassembling this heap of ordure?
From the abstract:
Krill abundance fluctuates with oceanographic conditions, most notably variation in winter sea ice(and probably lots of other things too. We don’t actually know all the pressures, but we do know that Krill are specifically adapted to survive wide ecological variation – they adjust their size depending on food supply, shrinking during moulting, for instance…
.the effects of krill variability on baleen whales remain largely unclear because concurrent long-term data on whale condition and krill abundance do not exist.. but that won’t stop us making up a model which assumes that WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEE! No real data here.
.Body condition of humpback whales was estimated from oil yields in whaling records.. I wonder if all the complex corrections for hunting capability/species prevelence/etc/etc were made? If so, how were they made? No real data here either
.Annual estimates of krill abundance in the Southern Ocean where those whales foraged (70°–130°E) were correlated.. Ah, so we also guessed what the krill abundance would have been? Probably using the hypothesised model? And look, the (guessed) data fits the hypothesis… still no real data.
…We hindcast sea ice extent for the whaling period from reconstructed temperature data.. and finally we make up what might have been the historic sea ice extent, from the made-up historic temperature data. Even though there was NO widespread available data fro the Antarctic until satellites came in. And even though it is now obvious that sea ice extent depends on warm/cool current strength and storminess.
There is just too much raw data made up in this paper for ANY conclusions to be drawn…


They modeled, did hindcasts, and estimated. Then they made assumptions and found good correlations. That is ironclad proof right there. I would even bet that if they adjusted and corrected the hindcasts, they could even get those “wee p-values” that just prove they are right. What’s not to love?

Gary Hladik

“There is just too much raw data made up in this paper for ANY conclusions to be drawn…”
It’s the oceanic version of the famous Drake equation:
“This serious-looking equation gave SETI a serious footing as a legitimate intellectual inquiry. The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. And guesses-just so we’re clear-are merely expressions of prejudice.”


It’s a simple model which seems to assume more sea ice means more krill. Antarctic sea ice has been increasing year on year for the last five or six decades, ergo, the simple model predicts increasing krill.
I don’t see any problem there.

I always wanted to be a Scientist, preferably with lots of letters in front of my name, now I know how to do it!!
Thank you!!! Pick an issue and pick a number, apply for a grant to study a “Problem”, sit back and relax, write a paper with all the correct assumptions and hindcast to fit your hunch and the two numbers you plucked from somebody else work, make sure the “Study” can be favourably peer reviewed, (No need for hard data) Sit back, relax and enjoy the fruit of your work (of fiction)!!

That’s exactly how it’s done..


timed right when they are considering removing humpbacks from the endangered list………


The Japanese must have paid for the study…..or the Inupiat’s of North America….:-)
Naw, I’ll come clean….it was the Koch Brothers…..


That’s apparent from the petrol analogy. (your sarcmeter should read around 7.5 on that comment if you are calibrated correctly) 😉

Andrew Harding

Isn’t Antarctic ice increasing in area and therefore by default, volume?


Yes, see the last statement in the topic post.

Gary Pearse

This seem to be a ‘So What?’ situation. We aren’t doing anything to the Krill, and the Antarctic ice is expanding. Why is it that they never need to tell us what the problem is and the chain of causes. The hype has created a condition where they just have to say something is bad and everyone is supposed to connect the dots to its ‘our fault’. I’m sure the 1947-to- whatever whaling activity would be the explainable variable as to why the Krill were so much more abundant. The whales that turned the Krill into oil never got a chance to come back and do it over again the next year.
I suppose if we shut down all the worthless Antarctic stations and activities of marine biologists for a century and just left everything alone it would all recover. Remember the herpetologists (frog folks) who, saving on rubber gloves or failing to clean their tools, killed off the golden toad of Costa Rica by infecting them with a South African toad virus and then blamed it all on global warming? Did Ms [Janelle] Braithwaite reuse the tongue depressers she used on sardines for the Krill, perhaps?

That’s a facetious reply about burning more co2. There are several issues with this article. What is the causal relationship to sea ice? It makes no sense that more ice means more krill or that if this relationship exists it is significant over any range. Clearly krill do not depend on sea ice.
This is like the story that just came out on co2 and nitrogen in plants. The story is that increasing co2 reduces nitrogen intake of plants. This is seen as negative. It is not at all clear why this would be negative. The article purports that this stunts plant growth which is obviously false. Many greenhouses increase co2 with obviously huge benefit. The effect of co2 and increased plant growth is validated with satellites in the laboratory and in real life. It is also sensible since the carbon the plants get largely comes from breaking co2 molecules. The article in university of Gothenburg tries to argue this is negative saying there might be reduced protein in some plants. This is also specious and minor as protein is available in numerous ways and far better ways than in some of these vegetable products.
I can’t believe we pay for such studies. It’s an incredible waste of money to produce these studies to produce false scientific information or irrelevant studies that also are intended to create fear mongering and possibly even more costly bad decisions based on these ridiculous claims.
Nobody is more concerned about whale health than me. If I believed for a second that krill supplies would endanger any whales I would definitely ask us to think of something to do to help. I’m not sure spending trillions on an ineffective unproven theory of co2 cagw but we should do everything we can to help the whales.
Can you imagine if we told whales. Look guys we discovered a relationship between sea ice extent and krill so we spent trillions to reduce our co2 output and in 100 years the sea ice extent might be a little better and hopefully that means the krill will make a comeback. So your children’s children’s children might eat better.
I just can’t believe we pay for such stupidity.

More excrement to bolster the Paris meeting. The propaganda will not stop – they lost the science argument but they could care less about the science.

R. Shearer

Plants build bigger molecules (carbohydrates) with CO2, not breaking them.

Photosynthesis involves a chemical reaction involving co2 and h2o that form carbohydrates and oxygen. The exact formula is 6co2 + 6h2o -> c6h12o6 + 6o2. Which means the 12 molecules of oxygen come from at least half the co2 and half from the water. The co2 therefore must be broken to get the oxygen from it needed to complete the reaction.

This is simple chemistry. Like I explained. The water only contains 6 O molecules in the reaction so where do the other 6 O molecules come? From the cO2 :).


The O2 formed in photosynthesis comes from the water molecules, the hydrogen atoms from the water are effectively added to the CO2 in the Calvin cycle to form the sugars.


Stupidity abounds everywhere, I have no issue with their meanderings per se, but it is offensive when these trough dwellers are swilling on the public purse via the ignorance or contempt of unconscionable politicians and noisome journalists.

Every time they “study” something the subsequent paper is full of holes. From a Farmer point of view, I dont really want to buy Nitrogen to spread under the trees because the eCO2 is lacking. I much prefer having that fertilizer supplied free to my trees courtesy of nature!! It is obvious by the paper on N/eCO2 correlation, that plants much prefer to use eCO2 to N. If eCO2 is too low, plants need to be supplemented with N….. I would say that the tree huggers are trying to kill the trees….

I agree it would reduce costs of farming if you don’t need to use as much fertilizer or any. This article on co2 and nitrogen is written as if it means plants won’t produce more if in a co2 supplemented environment and that there is a problem with them using co2. The article contradicts the facts that many greenhouses today use co2 supplementation to increase yields substantially. So the premise that somehow the need for less nitrogen means the plants won’t grow is contradicted by facts. We know plants grow faster and more with co2 supplementation.
They suggest some plants might have less protein. What data do they have to back that up? It’s a guess. Even if true it’s irrelevant.
You’re point is spot on. They’re article if anything says not only will we have more food but it will be cheaper to grow.

Leonard Lane

So many of these studies are produced by social science and environmental science types with money lefty governments provide by taking an increased tax bite from businesses, laborers, and consumers so that the easily bought soft scientists can provide just what the leftists need to increase their power.

Tom in Florida

“Here, we quantify links between whale body condition and krill abundance using a simple model that links krill abundance to sea ice extent.”
Since Antarctic sea ice has been increasing there should be an excellent amount of whale food available. But since they used “a simple model” perhaps it just more a case of the University looking for more funds to sustain themselves.
BTW, here in Florida there is no sea ice but we do have an abundance of whales, mostly riding around in scooters inside every Walmart in the State.

LOL. Thanks for that. “People of Walmart”. Course I are one.

Read the headline, saw it came from the city I lived in, and despaired! Just add it to the growing pile of crap pretending to be science.

Tom J

“It’s a bit like a car, if there’s not enough petrol…”
Does Janelle Braithwaite know anything whatsoever about cars? I mean, c’mon, how does one compare a whale to a car for chrissake. Last time I put a whale on the road it didn’t go anywhere. Despite all my encouragement it just laid there. And last time I put a car in the ocean it sank. So I don’t put cars in the ocean anymore.


Well, at least you are using observational data to support your conclusions.
There wouldn’t be any discussion regarding CAGW if everyone would do that.



Stevan Makarevich

They should add a new model for AGW – the “improbability factor”.
Here is an insight to the thought of at least one whale:

I’m sure Japan would be more than willing to conduct some marine research to study this problem.

The main assumption here is completely upside down:
Krill eats plankton which needs the sun for its growth.
Less ice -> more sun -> more plankton -> more krill (-> more whales?).
More ice -> less sun -> less plankton -> less krill (-> less whales?).
Hence more sea ice is bad, less sea ice is good.
Conclusion – burn coal!
Can I submit for publication in Nature?


The amount of krill has increased strongly in recent decades due to the decimation of whale populations. This has resulted in a massive increase in penguin populations (e. g. Royal Penguins) due to abundant food.
As whale stocks recover it seems likely that penguin numbers will decrease again.
Which will be blamed on CAGW.
Incidentally this paper is of course 100% pure bullshit:
“….between 1947 and 1963 …. We hindcast sea ice extent for the whaling period from reconstructed temperature data…”
Before 1957 there was NO permanent weather station anywhere on the Antarctic continent, so they are “hindcasting” sea-ice (which has no simple relation to temperatures) from ‘reconstructed’ temperatures that don’t even exist. The only weather record from the whole 70-130 east sector they are talking about would be Heard island from 1948 to 1954.


Since when is there less ice than normal in antarctic seas?

Alan Robertson

Oh, but, but- 97%.


sorry, had skipped over Eric’s last comment. Much agree.

If, if, if.
If the ice declines.
If the Krill becomes depleted.
If the whales run out of food.
People actually get paid for this?

Let’s just ask the whales.
“Whales, we have this plan. We’re going to spend trillions to reduce our co2 emissions. In 50 to 100 years we hope temps might come down although this theory is on the rocks now but we’re hoping it works. Then we think sometime after that the sea ice will increase and we think that the increase will increase krill and plankton. So in 100 years for sure you will have plenty of food maybe. It’s going to cost us many trillions to do this so don’t ask for any other help if this doesn’t work because we can’t afford it.”
I’m sure any half intelligent whale will agree to this plan.

…if my grandmother had a wheel she would be a wheelbarrow….


If my dog had a wheel; she’d be a wheel bitch.


“It’s a bit like a car, if there’s not enough petrol at the petrol station, then you’re setting off with three quarters of a tank and you might not be able to make it.”
Why do alarmists continually try to pass off automotive analogies when selling pseudoscience? I was reminded of the claims by trolls in the past here that the missing heat is “like pressing the accelerator pedal and waiting for the car to speed up”. They appear like simpletons.

A far greater danger is Chinese overfishing.


They’re welcome to take back their carp that infest the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Dodgy Geezer

…Clearly krill do not depend on sea ice….
Krill feed extensively on photoplankton, which attach themselves to the bottom of the sea ice. But how much the krill depend on this, whether they have any other options, what the actual projections for any diminution is, and how true any of the guessed figures provided in the paper are, I really have no idea.
I suspect that, actually, no one knows, making it quite safe to put out a paper warning that ALL the krill MIGHT die off…


That being the case, wouldn’t the popular claim that the ice is thinner actually be considered as a benefit to krill, as more light would reach the photoplankton?


Here is a pdf on photoplankton for anyone interested in krills’ dependance on ice.
It appears from this source that melting sea ice is one of several sources of nutrition:
“Phytoplankton need carbon dioxide, iron, nitrogen and phosphorous in order to photosynthesize. Gases
dissolving into the water column are one source of nutrients. Another source is runoff from fresh water
streams, snowmelt and melting glacial ice. Finally, precipitation brings nutrients to the water column.”

Considering this graph, what is the problem with sea ice? If you tell me it is thinner, I promise to laugh in your face…

If the ice declines
and if pigs could fly

Keith Willshaw

Not only is the extent of sea ice growing but so is the whale population. According to the IWC the figures are
Blue Whales 8% per annum
Humpback Whales 10% per annum
Southern Right Whales 7 to 8% per annum

How about Moby Dick?

Gunga Din

Here’s another claim from today’s paper.
“Climate science: Polar bears now eat dolphins lured by warm water ”
I don’t see how this is a problem. It will correct itself. I mean, they say “global warming” is going to take out the polar bears so in a few years Flipper and Willie will be safe. Right? 😎

Keith Willshaw

The story is rather contradictory though
“For the first time, scientists observed the bears feasting on white-beaked dolphins in Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic. They theorize that the dolphins, lured northward by warmer waters, were trapped under the ice and killed by the bears when coming up for air through a small hole, they wrote in a new study.”
So the actual cause of the dolphins dying was not lack of ice but too much of it !
Still it was good news for the polar bears.


Since polar bears are specialists at catching seals at breathing holes in the ice it would be very strange if they didn’t catch dolphins that use breathing holes as well. Quite likely the bear didn’t even notice, much less care, that it wasn’t a seal until after killing it.

You are all wrong! The major problem is the holes! Like the Ozone hole, the Ice holes are detrimental to life on the planet. If there were no holes in the ice (Caused by eCO2) the bears would not evolve a taste for seal or dolphin meat and would still enjoy their unflavoured popsicle… and a couple of pieces of Tofu.

Alan Robertson

I might suggest that anyone interested in this dolphin/bear report, read what Dr. Susan Crockford at “Polar Bear Science” has to say:

It’s in fact very complex in this active life to listen news on Television, so I
only use internet for that reason, and get the hottest news.

david smith


Gunga Din

Let the whales eat Spam?

Stephen Richards

There is a remarkable number of ifs in that statement. Enough to make the whole thing worthless. But then that’s climate science, isn’t it?


This is sheer unadulterated nonsense because the second largest whale in the world Baelena Australis or Southern Right adult whale can vacuum up nearly 2 tonnes of plankton and krill a day while feeding in the Antarctic. The mating adults will need to put on that food store in order to spend the other half of the year going hungry journeying to shorelines, bays and estuaries like Australias in order to breed. And here’s the rub-
“From recent reports from sighting in South America, South Africa, Australia and the Southern Oceans, it appears that the population is increasing at a very healthy rate, doubling every 10 years, and the total number of individuals globally is thought to be around 15,000 animals.”
You bet they are just like Humpbacks who have now been sighted extraordinarily as far north as Darwin while Southern Rights have disabled a Sydney Harbour Ferry, been seen in the Hawkesbury and in the Derwent in Tasmania. Unheard of in my youth and that of any crew of the Sea Shepherd. If ever the Southern right was vulnerable to extinction it was when it was hunted for oil and corset bone but the truth is these whales are now officially saved due to the advent of fossil fuels and their more recent value as tourist attractions. The only limit to their growth in numbers now is to compete with humans for their krill stocks, both for fish farming and the pseudo health kick industry as krill oil capsules. Save the whale die-hards are living in the past.

Why do alarmists continually try to pass off automotive analogies when selling pseudoscience?

The intended audience is buying… using your money!

M Seward

“whale body condition was significantly correlated with hindcasted winter sea ice extent”
Was that a bit like hindcasting temperature using certain tree rings and getting some significant correlation with a confected outcome?
Beat me senseless with a hockey stick but the ‘press release’ was a better read. That there even was a press release says more about the ‘science’ than the abstract.
Can’t you just feel the pre Paris tension in the atmosphere and speaking of Paris won’t that give CO2 levels a boost!

johann wundersamer

yes, thei’ll try to scary us to death till Paris – but after 50 years green life scaring we ought to be dead already – anyone alive not informed?


25 years ago I saw my first live whale blowing off Whalers Way near Port Lincoln in South Australia and now you can bump into them everywhere-–a-tour-up-the-hawkesbury-20120727-230in.html
The only problem is any young student reaching adulthood at 18 this year, never having experienced any global warming in their lifetime, wouldn’t know what their teachers and professors are lying to them about these endangered whales, when Southern Rights and Humpbacks have actually become a navigational hazard during their lifetime.


“The 2014 Sydney Whale Watching season was amazing and 2015 is on course to break all records. Humpback sightings have continued to increase every year and these amazing mammals just love to show off with breaches, tail slapping and even a close up wink when they are feeling extra curious.”
Whale watching cruises all over Australia and you’ll get a rain-check if you don’t see any.
And where there’s whales you’ll find their mates-
Which is why the slow Southern Rights like noisy, high energy coastlines like the Bunda Cliffs or places like Sydney Harbour when they’re vulnerable calving so the Orcas can’t track them easily, whereas travelling in open water in large pods the adults can drive them off. The whale watchers know that and pull up at the regulation 100 metres distance with engines running so the whales come moseying right up close for the punters. The whale watching trade calls it a ‘mugging’.
Lewandowsky is talking through his backside folks.


Don’t you mean his blowhole?


I think there is a problem with the “simple mode” developed in this study, as it fails to take into consideration the fertilization effect of the ocean water around the continent by melting ice. Krill populations are dependent on phytoplankton as a food source. During the summers, the waters around the Antarctic are abundant with phytoplankton, krill food, which are fertilized with nitrogen that comes from the melting of the ice. The ice cap is a depository for nitrogen, especially as nitrate, that has been fixed in the atmosphere by the aurorae and deposited on the ice surface by ice and snow precipitation. An ice core sample will show fluctuations in the amount of nitrogen in the different ice layers and at one point in time these fluctuations seemed to correlate with solar activity (11-yr solar cycle), but this correlation doesn’t always hold for periods of time in the historical solar cycle record. The important point is that the ice cap moves to the ocean via the glaciers where it breaks off and melts in the circumpolar waters, releasing nitrogen to fertilize the rapid summer growth of phytoplankton, which in turn, leads to an explosive increase in the krill population.
If the sea ice extent of the Antarctic is increasing, meaning less ice melt, then there would be less of a fertilization effect from the ice. This would mean less phytoplankton, and consequently less krill. Seems like the simple model might be too simple and fails to take into account this well documented phenomenon that occurs each summer.

I wonder what kind of scientific theory they teach at University of Western Australia.
Do they even have a course on scientific theory?

All the krill eaters from fur seals to Adelie Penguins to Humpback and Blue Whales have been expanding their populations


“If these whales run out of petrol before they get back to the Southern Ocean, then there’s no safety net, they will die from exhaustion.”
Right, because whales are stupid and will just head on a super-long journey without being ready to survive that journey…


They’ll just pull up to the nearest Gull (service station).

Louis Hunt

How come there are no photos of skinny whales to back up this study?

Gary Pearse

Some 3-5 thousand humpbacks visit Bahia de Samana in Dominican Republic in the Caribbean each to calve and to mate between January and March. They then head to the north Atlantic for the other months. It is stupid to be pedaling alarm over this very abundant and vigorous species. So all you Antarctica-is-the centre-of-the-whale universe folks in the antipodes should study up before you write shreddible sciencey stuff. This isn’t from that self styled ‘Centre of Excellence’ we are told about – the one that gave an award to the leader of the Ship of Fools for, ermmm….getting stuck in sea ice looking for global warming in Antarctica a couple of years ago?

johann wundersamer

anyone still alive – not yet informed means: wrong strategie, opportunity windows passed.
go ahead, nothing to see here.

Just more BS going against the data that shows record sea ice and cold Southern Ocean temperatures.


Sea Ice coverage is dynamic- it expands and contracts over decadal periods of time. Nature is dynamic. When droughts occur inland, it impacts the food of foraging wild animals and that impacts the entire food chain.
The thing that never seems to decrease the past three decades is apocalyptic claptrap about the climate.

Scott M

The article serves its purpose, Global Warming is melting the Antarctic and killing whales…
Just because a tiny part of AA might have been reduced and maybe 1% less crill in a certain area doesnt matter…….AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Global Warming we are all going to die………….You will be hearing people say GW is killing whales……


“You will be hearing people say GW is killing whales”
Let them make their stupid claims while Southern Rights double in numbers every decade off our shores and beaches. The more stupid claims the quicker their young captive minds will wake up they’ve been had.

The key point is “Whales live this feast and fast lifestyle.”
This natural feast and famine cycle probably applies to the last million years or so at least. So all it tells us is that the same sort of cycles that apply to land mammals also to whales.
Not much added to what land biologists already know. Is is possible that marine biologists did not also know the same cycles of boom and bust also apply to marine mammals?


Is there something in the water supply to the UWA?


And yet, recently announced in the MSM, record number of whales migrating north to warmer waters this winter.

David L.

Years ago I learned a simple “cause and effect” cycle in college biology class. The example was fox and hare populations. The hare population would be large, causing more fox to be born and live on them as a food source. This caused the hare population to decline, which caused the fox population to decline, which then caused the hare population to increase, and on and on and on.
Isn’t it the same with whales and what they eat? to understand this, scientists would need to study both populations long enough to catch a few cycles. Who knows how long a cycle?


“Isn’t it the same with whales and what they eat? to understand this, scientists would need to study both populations long enough to catch a few cycles. Who knows how long a cycle?”
That’s the point particularly with Southern Rights that were hunted almost to extinction for oil and corset bone –
The Southern Right whales (a close cousin of the Northern Right which became separated by equatorial waters) were protected back in the 1930s. In any case they were extremely scarce due to the ease of hunting, as they were slow swimmers, surface cruisers and floated when killed. Then from that Australian precis you see how largely Humpbacks and other species were hunted up until the late 70s.
Humpbacks being faster swimmers and harder to catch before protection have recovered big time whereas the Southern Rights decimated early numbers have taken much longer to reach serious breeding numbers but having done so are now on a steep uptick too. Their Antarctic food supply is likewise being impacted upon, the only question being when will supply and demand come into equilibrium again as it must. Ultimately if numbers of SR whales can’t get enough food store for the 6 months trek to Australia then they’ll not breed or perhaps perish in the attempt (weak ones will be easy prey for Great Whites and Orcas in that regard) and we’ll see the effects wash up regularly on our beaches and no doubt more Loondosky hysteria.
Not hard to see the knock on effects for other sea life in the Antarctic if the absence of original whale equilibrium numbers have swelled their ranks as competitve whale diet eaters. Noone living today can possibly know what Antarctic equilibrium sea-life was like before we removed so many of the giant baleen vacuum cleaners, but we’re now in the rapidly accelerating process of finding out.
No doubt the usual suspects will jump on every progresive change to further their cause but they’re really flying blind with whenever or whatever they measure of that evolutionary process. Just like global climate they have no firm base to stand on in order to judge any of it.

Non Nomen

Even if the results were correct, the University of Western Australia had and probably still has some issues concerning competent and true science, Lewandowsky, the Cook-ie and the honourable members of the public know that by now. So these Western Australian Bushwhackers Scientists didn’t look into the book of magic spells, that has just one word for the thesis they were working on so relentlessly: adaptation.


We’re only just beginning to tune in to that with whales-
But apparently only a few very special critters like humans, cats, dogs, budgies, rats, mice… can adapt to their noisier urban environment
Forget all that nonsense, only climatologists like Lewandowsky and Cook have the real understanding of all this Gaia stuff and where it all fits in the big picture.

Non Nomen

Thanks for the looks into a fascinating and interesting world.
I just don’t understand why stupid Gaia didn’t manage to get Lewandowsky et al informed about that stuff. He’d be better off trying to sell tickets to the moon at one of his looney parties…


Oh thank goodness for all the rational people who comment! Melting sea ice affecting the whales? Hardly! I almost couldn’t read past the headline knowing outright this was going to be bogus science! Its all about the krill – everything about the krill! I remember working down in Antarctica and being terrified there was talk of certain countries harvesting the krill – but there was a certain element (F) that made it a bit awkward. But if you know the ecosystem in Antarctica it’s all about krill – there is not a lot of complexity there and removing krill on a commerical scale is mroe likely to have an impact than anything.
So imagine my horror when I now see, in recent months, a HUGE campaign to make people eat krill pills as if that is the latest vitamin supplement we have lived without for eons – but suddenly now need…
Ice melting – pshaw! Eyal Porat above summed it up nicely…


Quite an astonishing conclusion — krill has to have ice to survive! Then all that green stuff in gigantic growing-season blooms in the cool but ice-free temperate waters all over the globe aren’t krill/phytoplankton, it must be green plastic ’cause krill can’t survive w/o ice….


Quite an astonishing conclusion — krill has to have ice to survive! Then all that green stuff in gigantic growing-season blooms in the cool but ice-free temperate waters all over the globe aren’t krill/phytoplankton, it must be green plastic ’cause krill can’t survive w/o ice….

Astonishing isn’t it that the billion tons of krill and plankton ultimately depend on hanging off some ice in Antarctica. These creatures fill all the oceans – all of them and they are at all levels in the ocean from the surface to the bottom. One billion tons of them and the lifecycle as described in Wikipedia never mentions once their 100% dependence on growing on Antarctic sea ice. In fact Wikipedia falsely suggests krill grow all over the world and live an entire life without ice dependence at all. How astonishing. What would life be like without the global warming fanatics telling us about all these new things. Like how coral reefs will be destroyed by warming ocean water even though right now they seem to be healthier than ever and growing fabulously well in warm waters we are told they KNOW coral are going to die eventually. Or like how in 2080 our food supply will decline when we forget to move growing our food to more northerly newly arable growing regions. It’s amazing how they can predict things so accurately. I believe them 100%. Everything they say is 100% believed by every scientist or 97% anyway. For instance 97% of scientists agree whale populations will decline dramatically from declining sea ice because of the dependence of krill on ice so well established scientifically now. Thanks cagw’ers. 97% of the scientists who wrote the report anyway. After all that’s the only scientists that count right?


“If the ice declines…”
“if there’s not enough petrol…”
“If these whales run out of petrol..”
There’s a lot if ‘ifs’ in this article. It seems to be a lot like most other alarmist statements.
‘If the earth warms..’
‘If the sea level rises..’
‘If the oceans become acidic..’
They all sound very ‘iffy’ to me.