Guest essay by James Wanliss
It is a tough life in Antarctica.
Average winter temperature at the South Pole is about -49°C. The coldest temperature ever recorded by a thermometer in Antarctica was -89.2°C at Vostok station in 1983. (This is the same as -128.6°F.) Satellite measurements have found temperatures as low as a frigid -93.2°C. Compare this to a home freezer—about -15°C. Add wind chill into the mix and one would think life near impossible. Indeed, Antarctic biodiversity is incomparable to that of warmer places such as the Amazon.
And yet … there is life there, and in abundance.
Penguins! Penguins galore. The usual talk is about penguin extinction, for who these days likes a happy story anyways? Doom, gloom, and complaints are so much more profitable and emotionally satisfying. Hamlet was on to something when he recognized in his first soliloquy this human need:
… and yet within a month —
Let me not think on’t — Frailty, thy name is woman! —
A little month; or ere those shoes were cold
With which she followed my poor father’s body
Like Niobe, all tears; why she, even she —
O God! A beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer
Frailty, thy name is doctor!
In 2014 NASA scientists used satellites to identify pitiful patches of penguin poop. The volume seemed enormous. But, where were the penguins? Presumably the “mysteriously large” number of penguins were extinct because of global warming, in hiding, or in a secret Antarctic base plotting world domination.
Ah, global warming, global warming, wherefore art thou global warming? Whither the missing penguins? In the words of Oberon, “Global warming, what hast thou done?”
The reality of penguin doom is somewhat otherwise. The penguin poop is now firmly identified with living penguins. 1.5 million of them. NASA has recently confirmed the discovery of a supercolony of 1.5 million penguins that went unnoticed until now.
And yet real data show a different story. Adelie penguin numbers over the past 40 years have grown quite a bit. Global warming, right? And now this new finding causes a big spike, a hockey stick of sorts, in the penguin population numbers.
Data show that Adelie penguin numbers have grown over the last 40 years. Yet well-fed scientists say they will be extinct within 20 years. So global warming causes both increases and decreases in the penguin population, extinction and exploding population growth. And now, this hockey schtick with a 1.5 million spike in measured populations.
I’m embarrassed for my comrades. I wish one did not need to point out the harm done to the credibility of science when scientists make such fatal logical blunders that only extreme propaganda can cloak from the mind.
James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death, and a Senior Fellow of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The opinion expressed above is Dr. Wanliss’s personal viewpoint and does not represent the opinion of Presbyterian College.