The Penguins Smoking Hockey Schtick

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.

But let us be scientific. We all know it must be global warming because, as my Canadian friend reminds me, global warming is the answer to most questions.

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.

The usual story is that penguin decline is accelerating. Global warming, of course. Adelie penguins, we heard as recently as 2016, could be extinct within 20 years.

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.

104 thoughts on “The Penguins Smoking Hockey Schtick

  1. This story has ready been anticpated by a previous one about 2 weeks ago. Anthony Are you repeating WUWT postings now?

    • Alan, its a report about how easily utilized science can still not demonstrate everything. I easily found an article from 1989 about utilizing satellite TM data to identify Penguin Guano, probably because the phosphate ion is a great reflector. Still, 1.5 million penguins evaded detection and in so doing added to the Global Warming hype. They were found when their performance of Happy Feet was detected by Hollywood Agents. This is therefore a report on how incredibly large the Earth is and how many places there is for the truth to hide. There, now I feel better.

      • “Yet well-fed scientists say they will be extinct within 20 years.” Maybe those “well-fed scientists” having been dining on Penguin. (I hear it tastes like chicken!)

  2. They claim they know…and then, almost every day, prove they don’t
    Just think, if they can miss 1 1/2 million penguins…….

    • climate science, where 1.5 million penguins and a couple of trillion trees are but a drop in the ocean compared to a few molecules of co2.

      • ‘Climate Science’ – where a zoom lense on every ripple in the ocean is 97% proof of a coming tsunami.
        You would call it ‘climate scientology’ but the name is already taken. But we know it is rigorous stuff ‘cos, like these dudes and dames audit themselves ruthlessly and there is only 3% tolerance of any non-conforming utterances.

      • bit chilly, don’t make the mistake of equating “a few molecules of CO2 ” with insignificance. These few support the entire biosphere – no small role indeed. You can take issue with the amount of warming it may cause, but merely tossing out a few words about this truly existential compound isn’t convincing in itself.

      • gary, there may have been a tiny hint of sarcasm in my post. the main tenet was the appalling lack of integrity relating to the constant claims of certainty on subjects where no such certainty exists.

    • The earth is a big place and wild swings in science interpretation occur as a result of undersampling. This is true when having to cover the globe or large remote regions for climate as well as biological organism status. For example, measuring polar bear populations in the Arctic is impossible.

      • In which case it is probably prudent to express your results in terms of it’s uncertainty rather than it’s certainty

      • i don’t think anyone will disagree with your point donald. the problem arises where there are statements made regarding numbers ,whether that be trees, polar bears or penguins, that have no qualifying statement regarding accuracy.

    • Latitude – March 14, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Just think, if they can miss 1 1/2 million penguins……..

      YUP, …. AMAZING!!! NASA scientists identified a random scattering of “black” penguin poop on the Antarctica ice pack but couldn’t identify the 1 1/2 million “black” Adelie penguins that were doing the pooping.
      Tis little wonder those brilliant researchers have been claiming the Polar Bear populations are drastically declining.
      Counting “white” Polar Bears roaming around on the “white” Arctic ice and snowpack is a little “tricky” compared to counting “black” penguins.

    • Good point. Millions of living, breathing easily COUNTABLE penguins vs. a few tenths of a degree teased out of proxies allegedly “measuring” thousands of years of temperature. Sure, I’ll go with the models on this one.
      As they say, some people see something work in practise, then argue that it can’t be because it doesn’t work in theory…
      These people can usually be ignored, but they’ve now nestled themselves so tightly into academia, media and government that it will be hard to extract them without killing the host (i.e., us).

    • Goes along with the 500,000 elk that were in danger of extinction until it was discovered they had been on the other side of the mountains.

  3. … who these days likes a happy story anyways? …

    Steven Pinker among others. The world we live in today is closer to an Earthly paradise than any time since Adam and Eve got booted from the Garden of Eden. Probably, most of this is thanks to fossil fuels.

    The paradox of our time is that Americans are feeling bad about doing well. By most objective standards, the last half century in our national life has been enormously successful. Americans have achieved unprecedented levels of material prosperity and personal freedom. We are healthier, work at less exhausting jobs. . . . [And yet], a majority of us . . . express pessimism about the country’s prospects.

    Yep, most people aren’t interested in a good news story.

    • Actually, I think CommieBob, people would be interested in that happy story. But it is decided by the media that “they wouldn’t be interested” Bollocks, they sure as heck would!

    • “By most objective standards, the last half century in our national life has been enormously successful. Americans have achieved unprecedented levels of material prosperity and personal freedom. ”
      …80% of the world achieved unprecedented level of material prosperity in the last 20 years. It is a proven fact, but most people chose to ignore it. With poverty receding, population is now nearly under control.
      80% of the world population is as healthy and wealthy now as rich people were 200 years ago.

      A lot of evidence of all these positive things can be found on Hans Rosling’s web site:

      • One more thing is needed – an honest government that does not steal your success or squash innovation. Most poor countries today are also the most corrupt.

      • Loren, claiming that there is a need for honest government reminds me of claiming there is a need for mosquitoes that won’t bite… Unfortunately, that only exists in models (which we all know aren’t based on reality)

    • “Americans are feeling bad about doing well.” No, progressives and their liberal ilk feel bad. Those that understand economics, chemistry, and climate feel great.

      • “Americans are feeling bad about doing well.” No, progressives and their liberal ilk feel bad.

        No, nope and nada, ……. progressives and their liberal ilk are feeling irate and self-pity because they truly believe they deserve the credit for the advancement in living standards during the past 100 years, …….. whereas the literal fact is the progressives and their liberal ilk have done their damndest to prevent societal advancements via their stupid arsed “inclusion policies”.

    • “If it bleeds, it leads”…
      Hey, Dr. “Armageddon NOW!!!” Suzuki actually wrote a “good news” book, but it apparently didn’t increase the revenue at his “charity”, so it was on to the next scare tactic.

  4. It is a tough life in Antarctica.
    Without cheap energy it is a tough life for humans everywhere on this planet except the tropics.

      • So affordable energy is also an issue in the tropics. Or is the local form of government the paramount issue in tropical quality of life?

      • Yes but Ghana and South African issues are due to their governments. South Africa is a good example of a country declining due to becoming socialist – like Venezuela.

  5. I’ve nothing against penguins, but I’m tired of them “starring” in animal documentaries, and finding them increasingly annoying. Of course the show producers are to blame because there’s no other animal available for the “poster animal” for CAGW Antarctic-propaganda.

    • I nominate the Antarctic polar bear.
      This poor beasty went extinct to fast & completely, there are no fossil records what so ever.
      Over 97% of scientists confirm they have never seen one.

  6. One. Point. Five. Million. Penguins? This is terrible. They’ll overrun their environment and destroy it. Those excessive population numbers never would’ve occurred were it not for Anthropogenic Global Warming.
    sarc/I really hate having to put this tag here but if I didn’t, I’d find out it was necessary.

    • May I chime in and state that this small area would never be so overpopulated were it not for humans encroaching on the natural habitat and forcing the poor dears into a place where we couldn’t find them.
      Yes, sarcasm has its satisfactions…

    • More likely the increase in penguin numbers (several species as a matter of fact) is mostly due to the near extermination of large whales which meant a huge increase in food for penguins. As the whale populations (slowly) recover penguin populations will undoubtedly decline. Which will certainly be blamed on “global warming”.

  7. Global warming will cause the penguin population to explode, resulting in there not being enough food, in turn resulting in their extinction. See, the alarmists are right.

    • Sadly, more often it’s their well-intended yet ill-conceived programs that end up causing hyper-instability which can cause population collapse. The available food supply will be the limiting factor, until some fool wades in to disrupt the equilibrium. Perhaps that’s where their concept that humans are “unnatural” and can only cause harm stems from: observing their colleagues.

      • Here’s their paradox…..these are penguins that nest on land….too much ice and they die

    • Those Antarctic penguins are stubborn little cusses and they are not going to let a little ice, snow and cold temperatures chase them away from their ancestral “birth & rearing” grounds that were first established by their ancestors back when Antarctica was “ice-free” with a rather mild climate.
      They know fer shur that just a few more years of trekking 60 to 100 miles across the ice to their “nesting” site before the “big thaw” of global warming occurs and warm temperatures return to the Antarctica continent.

  8. Penguins are cute. So any fundraising story on the Antarctic will use a picture of a penguin, regardless of how well penguins are actually doing.

    • They may be cute in pictures, but up close & personal, they stink. And I mean REALLY stink (reminder: they eat fish).

      • Well that explains why killer whales play with their food .. they’re trying to clean the stench off.
        In your face Attenborough!

      • And they have a nasty bite.
        “The closest thing to being beaten up by a penguin is being grabbed with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and beaten with sandals!”

    • What I particularly like is our neighbor’s annual Christmas yard display with an igloo, a sign saying North Pole and two adorable penguins, with scarfs. And I see such arctic penguins in many a Christmas display.

    • They are cute in real life too. And yes, penguin colonies (like all seabird colonies), have an extremely fishy smell. Rather like human fishing settlements as a matter of fact (try visiting a norwegian village where they are drying lutefisk if want to really know what “stink” means).

      • In Cape Breton once I was (trying) to photograph some landscapes near a bird sanctuary. If I hadn’t been “trained” by living in university dorms, I probably woulda barfed…

  9. This joke may not be funny to people who didn’t grow up in Sunday school but here goes. A Sunday school teacher was trying to get her children to guess what she was talking about. She was kept giving clues that described a squirrel and then ask the children if they knew what it was yet. No one guessed and one little boy started to look distressed. ‘What’s wrong Billie?’ the teacher finally asks. Billie says ‘Well, I know the answer is supposed to be Jesus but it doesn’t sound right’. Change Sunday school to university science class and change Jesus to Global Warming and you have a modern joke.

    • No; not even close to an actual joke.
      Must be a consequence of your having to “…grow up in Sunday school…”. Were you actually held captive or did you just voluntarily attend?

      • As a kid he was probably held captive. Really – if mom/dad sent you to Sunday school, could you just walk away?

      • Most young children are forced to attend Sunday School and/or Bible School by their parent(s) or guardian, …….. but then many, many children voluntarily attend Sunday School and/or Bible School simply because they are “bribed” to attend via the promises of candy, prizes, games, parties, fun trips, etc.
        Without the “promises” of goodies ….. they is no way that they can entice the children to voluntarily come through the Church doors.

      • At our church, often as not, it’s the kids pulling the parents, telling them to hurry up.
        Sunday school doesn’t have to be boring.

  10. perhaps its just me but I am envisioning 1.5 million penguins singing “Its a hard knock life” to some choreographed routine when they were finally “found” …. maybe that will be a new “Disney documentary!”
    [The mods think the invisible penguin colony what chased the lemmings off of their cliff back in Disney’s original documentaries. .mod]

    • @ Joe Prins

      Perhaps in another 17 years we will find another species that was presumed to be in precipitous decline restored to former glory.

      HA, ya fooled me that time.
      Instead of Polar bears, I was sure that you were going to cite the Cicada as being the one ”in precipitous decline”, ………… after they have mated, that is.
      To wit, the 17-year Locust or Cicada —-

  11. Take care in casting aspersions at the Penguin doomsayers, the tuxedo-clad tricksters have adopted stealth technology. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that they all look alike.
    Nonetheless, several recent open Satellite Penguin Counter positions reveal high-level dismissals in the upper echelons in the field of Penguin Demographics.

  12. As I remarked on another blog, how ironic that scientists, instead of rejoicing and leaving the critters alone, will study the new colony, disrupt & stress the birds, and introduce new diseases. And then blame climate change.
    One wonders what is probably the biggest factor in the spread of fatal amphibian diseases to most corners and isolated populations of the globe. (Ans: The scientists who blame climate change!).

    • OMG the researchers of fatal amphibian diseases have managed to wipe out all of the amphibians in Antarctica!
      But, some how CO2 will be blamed.

  13. I still think that the penguins knew that it was time to move. Change is certainly in place around Antarctica since arly this year when a new surface wind pattern set in place. That pattern is still running, and it is a cooling pattern. So is this what the penguins are reacting to? Do they have that innate sense to know when it is time for them to make a change of this nature just as some other animals do?

  14. I don’t know, what with penguins disappearing and suddenly appearing, attacking people, and smoking, I think they may be planning something. Here are two that seem to be sending an ominous message:

  15. Clearly global warming is responsible here. The rise in temperature from negative 50 to negative 49 has stimulated the hormones necessary to get those critters cuddling again, and Mother Nature has taken care of the rest. I’ve been waiting for some similar signs in my old body, but now at least I’m more hopeful.

  16. Poor old Attenborough was conned onto a beach in Antarctica devoid of Adelies in a BBC programme. How sad.

  17. James Wanliss:

    “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”

    It is not a blunder!
    Blunders are supposed to be one-off mistakes, where people learn and correct their blunders.
    Thirty years of failed predictions and bogus research conclusions are the results of:
    A) Religion
    B) Confirmation bias.
    Confirmation bias is the overwhelming cause for much of climate research.
    First they decide the results they want.
    Second, they look solely for items that prove their preferred bias,
    Third, They recalculate repeatedly until they get a result they prefer.
    Which is another reason so much of modern science, especially climate research utterly depends upon research not being independently replicated.

  18. James is a veteran cherry picker. He rejects the evidence when the population is in decline but suddenly believes it when it increases.
    Has anybody looked up the Cornwall Alliance where he holds the title of senior fellow ?, its an evangelical group spouting theology rather than science. I’d have left that off my CV.

  19. We’ve had this “scientists worry” about disappearance of populations in connection with emperor penguins, adelie penguins (Turney of the Ship of Fools shed tears over dead chicks and adults unaware this is common and because there are no predators or carrion eaters the bodies can be centuries old!), polar bears, caribou, Edith-Spot butterfly, and a southwest US rodent the name of which escapes me. All have been found to be alive and well somewhere else.
    If there are biologist/ecologists visiting this site, what do they say about this failure in a very fundamental matter regarding this. And for those who profess to be experts and receive a paycheque for understanding these creatures’ behavior and…erm…ecology, why are the native people and a geologist/mining engineer like me more expert on the subject.
    My answer is that biologists were the first of the venerable sciences to be corrupted by activism along with the terminally broken disciplines of sociology, philosophy, psychology, political ‘science’ …The hard sciences, by their nature, haven’t had their Lysenkoes, Markses, Ehrlichs, Thompson’s…But even the тоталутаяуаи ЦSSЯ had dissidents. Are there dissident biologists around?

  20. Gee mods, my lost post was about a half dozen other missing but refound species and it begged for a biologist to come forward and explain. Oh I commented on Ehrlich, and the Thompson’s too, but all on topic.

      • I think Google has gotten into some copyright issues with some of the owners of the pictures, and so Google has modified its page.

  21. When does the Antarctic get too warm for penguins?
    They evolved about 60 million years ago.
    What was the temperature of Antarctica at that time? Well, it was still attached to Australia and South America at the time and Antarctica was geographically about the same position as today (maybe 5 degrees farther north). But the resulting ocean gyres with Australia and South America still attached kept it warm enough that even glaciers were not forming. So something like +20C in the summer and -20C in the winter.
    A good 20C of warming is required to take the penguins out then.

      • The African penguins live in waters that are almost subtropical and are seen as far north in the Atlantic ocean as N Namibia.
        What seems important is breeding islands safe from predators. On land Penguiins are..well I was going to say sitting ducks..
        Not temperature

    • Actually the northernmost penguins are on Isabela in the Galapagos Islands just north of the Equator. Water temperatures there are about 25 C. This is rather extreme though. No other penguin species live in waters warmer than about 20 C (Peru, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Namibia, Australia, New Zealand). So, yes I would say at least 20 degrees of warming would be required to make Antarctic waters unlivable for penguins. A bit more as a matter of fact as seawater temperatures in Antarctica at present are a few degrees below zero C.

  22. Higher CO2 concentration is causing an increase in life all over the planet, more food from photosynthesis and on up the chain. It’s so dramatic that the alarmist crowd is even trying to hide penguins.

  23. An odd thought: has anyone used penguin feathers for lining sleeping bags and parkas? They must be awesome insulators. As I sit here freezing in Michigan, the furnace blower motor is dead and the repairman didn’t arrive today. It’s below freezing outside and not much above inside. And Spring is only a week away!

    • I believe the penguins retain heat through their fat. The feathers are very small and tight – keep the birds waterproof – which also helps.

  24. “Ah, global warming, global warming, wherefore art thou global warming? ”
    Why is it global warming? CO2 is the approved answer.

  25. Peta is doing housework and has a ‘sudden realisation’
    OMG, there’s an organic volatile in here somewhere and I may be in great danger. It could be sea-level rise but goes to check the usual place first= behind the settee.

    “Hello Pingu. What are you doing there?”
    “Mmmm. How long have you been there….. you know…. like….. behind my settee?”
    “Quack quack”
    “Wow” Are there any more of you in there?”
    “Quack quack quack”
    Good grief – Peta is taken aback but, after a few moments, half a pack of Marlboro, a pint of Jim Beam and some prescription opiate, is re-composed.
    “Well I’m really sorry Pingu but; you and your 96 friends will have to go back to Arctica, where you belong. Not least as The Onion of Surreal Scientists are Concerned”
    “Fat Chance Busta. You’ve got another thing coming if you think for Just One Minute we’re going back to that frozen hell-hole wasteland. We’re stopping right here, next the warm radiator behind your settee.” “And your spellchecker is losing it.”
    Peta is stunned. Spellchecker Fail AND a talking penguin!!!
    This is crazy, but then remembers: ‘Climate Science’
    It’s OK – it makes sense now especially as the opium is starting to work nicely. Peta is cool.
    Pingu continues: “And if you think any more about shipping us off to Arctica, we’ll send a tweet AND a quack to the United Penguin World Committee Party Conference Of Working Nation Groups Of Nations Working International Science Steering Committee of the Working Summaries Groups Policy Penguin Parties Club. And don’t you go getting too cool or we’ll make this place as hot as the Oval Office was while Obama was in there. Comprende?”
    “Ooooooh” says Peta, pondering the seriousness & enormity of this unprecedented & anomalous warning bombshell.
    Peat thinks: ‘It could definitely be worse than first thought. Certainly the heating bill will be’
    Nightmare visions of trend-lines fill Peta’s head. All going up.
    Shakes head, probably the organic volatile doing that -certainly not the booze.
    “Alright then” concedes Peta. Returns to vacuum the carpet.
    “Actually Pingu, I’m going out later and may be passing the Fish & Chip shop, is there anything I can get you?” “And by-the-way, don’t bother sending any quacks to that particular organisation, it’s full of them already”
    “Quack quack”
    [The mods must ask: “Do penguins quack in the duck’s language, or do ducks quack in a penguin’s language?” .mod]

  26. Penguins and polar bears serve as “mascots” to be used in a marketing scheme designed to inspire compelling emotions in a world that is dominated by a battle to convince billions of whatever it is you need to support your agenda.
    Fake and false news abounds, as well as the spinning and twisting of data and facts. Using effective modes of communication(internet/media) and high profile, high priests to sell the brainwash(Gore/celebrities/politicians), the objective is not to find truth or authentic principles but to WIN the cause, which was defined over a decade ago. The rules say that the cause can’t change…………….
    The science of the cause was settled then………..not the real world climate science.

  27. Reminds me of the Australian shark fisherman who “found” a buncha sharks where the “scientists” couldn’t.
    Lets see: one guy only gets paid if he finds sharks, the other guys get paid when they don’t find sharks. And most of the world doesn’t have sharks, so…
    Think I know who I’d believe.

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