Archive for the 'King penguins' Category

Feb 25 2008

KING PENGUINS: LONG LIVE THE KINGS

Penguin 11 here. It’s been awhile. Quite frankly several of us penguins were given DVD collections of “Lost” and we surrendered. We know something about living on an island or so we thought – anyway it has been fascinating to see what you humans do in a time of crisis, or during a manufactured crisis for the cameras. Before I say goodbye to “Lost” let me say I hope Kate takes care of Aaron. We are now in a “Lost” support group, focused on regaining our equilibrium. And our group leader, Penguin 815, probably won’t be happy with me even saying these things.

My first assignment is returning to our major task – communicating with you.

How about the bad news first. And the bad news second.

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King Penguin – Photo: Getty Images


Our brothers and sisters – The Kings – have been told they face a death sentence.

Roger Highfield, the Science Editor of the UK Telegraph, writes:

The prospect that the King penguin will go extinct as a result of climate warming is rising inexorably, scientists say today.

Second only to Emperor penguins in size, King Penguins – distinguished by their ear patches of bright golden-orange feathers – thrive on the islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, with a total population of over two million breeding pairs.

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Because King penguins sit on the food chain in their region, they are sensitive indicators of alterations to the marine ecosystem and feel the effects of climate change more keenly as a result – in this case, the warming is reducing their food supply.

Global warming is happening much more quickly in some parts of the frozen continent, particularly the north-west area known as the Antarctic Peninsula, where in the last 50 years temperatures have risen by about 2.5ºC – as much as five times the world average
.
But for these penguins, which do not live near the peninsula, the effects are caused by a warming of sub polar sea surface temperatures.



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King Penguin – Photo: Getty Images


Highfield continues his report on the work of Yvon Le Maho of the CNRS Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Strasbourg on the breeding and survival of penguins on Possession Island in the Crozet Archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean:

With Céline Le Bohec and colleagues, Dr Le Maho shows today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that high sea surface temperatures in the penguins wintering range, where two thirds of the world’s population of this species reside, diminished the amount of available marine prey, which decreased the survival of adult King penguins since they had to travel greater distances to find food.

The birds feed on small fish and squid, relying less on krill and other small crustaceans than many other sea mammals, and the find suggests that these species are suffering as a result of warming of the Southern Ocean.



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KING PENGUINS: LONG LIVE THE KINGS!


Anyway, just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water … SHARKS! We penguins have enough to worry about as it is. But sharks – that’s too much.

Climate researchers are now suggesting that warming ocean temperatures might make the Antarctic waters inviting for sharks.

Antarctica’s waters remain too cold for crabs, sharks and other fish to survive in, but global warming has already caused temperatures to increase by one to two degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, said University of Rhode Island biology professor Cheryl Wilga …

… the Antarctic seafloor has been dominated by relatively soft-bodied, slow-moving invertebrates, just as in ancient oceans prior to the evolution of shell-crushing predators,” she said on the sidelines of the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“The water only needs to remain above freezing year round for it to become habitable to some sharks, and at the rate we’re going, that could happen this century,” Wilga said.

The BBC also reported the story:

Unique marine life in Antarctica will be at risk from an invasion of sharks, crabs and other predators if global warming continues, scientists warn.

Crabs are poised to return to the Antarctic shallows, threatening creatures such as giant sea spiders and floppy ribbon worms, says a UK-US team.

Some have evolved without predators for tens of millions of years … “Sharks are going to arrive in Antarctica as long as the warming trend continues, a bit more slowly than crabs – crabs are going to get there first,” said Professor Cheryl Wilga … “But once they do get there they are capable of eating the organisms that live there.”



Crabs and sharks – our version of the Others!







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Sep 05 2007

IRAQ, WAR & GLOBAL WARMING

Penguin 11 isn’t one of those penguins who sticks out in a crowd. She’s shy and retiring. Quiet and smart. Many times we have to remind ourselves that she is in the room.

Just the other day, Penguin 11 came up to us with something she had thought about and asked whether this was something we would write about.

Some of you may well say this is something we should keep our beaks out of. Too political. Well it’s a bit late for that, don’t you think. Now that the ice is melting it’s everyone’s business. Don’t you think it’s important to see how we use energy?

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Rare Photo of Penguin 11 Jogging Far Right – Photo by Joan Koele



So without further ado, how about a nice hand and flipper-smack for Penguin 11:

Dear Penguins and friends of Penguins. As many of you know I spend a lot of time thinking and walking and walking and thinking. I think humans call it daydreaming. And sometimes days are long here.

Anyway, one day I was thinking about Al Gore. It’s not what you think. I’m very happy for Tipper. But I thought about how he spoke out against the war in Iraq, and how he speaks out against the climate crisis. But he doesn’t put them together. Some of us were able to see LiveEarth and I don’t think anyone really talked about the Iraq War & Global Warming. How much energy was being used by humvees, and tanks, and fighter jets and all those large bombers.

Anyway while vacationing in the Falklands, I decided to put some penguin thought to the matter. It was the end of yet another beautiful day when I decided to do some research.


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Photo Ben Tubby



With the help of Marsha at the internet cafe, I found this interesting article quoting Dr. Sohbet Karbuz who used to work in the energy statistic department of the International Energy Agency in Paris. The city of lights:

Which government agency is one of the world’s largest landlords and has a budget that could be ranked as the world’s 17th largest economy and could be ranked as the world’s 31st largest oil consumer and the world’s biggest purchaser of oil?

The United States Department of Defense (DoD)!

Here are some interesting statistics:

The Department of Defense is one of the world’s largest landlords with a physical plant consisting of more than 571,900 facilities (buildings, structures and utilities) located on more than 3,740 sites, on nearly 30 million acres” (121 400 km2) says the Base Structure Report for Fiscal Year 2005 of the US Department of Defense …

Defense outlays (actual expenditures) as a share of GDP is 3.0 in fiscal year 2006 ($424.4 billion). This figure does not include supplemental appropriations to cover costs of the war in Iraq.

The US DoD is the largest oil consumer in the US, and 31st largest in the world.

“Military fuel consumption makes the Department of Defense the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [2]

“Military fuel consumption for aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities makes the DoD the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [3]

[The] American GI is the most energy-consuming soldier ever seen on the field of war.

“The Army calculated that it would burn 40 million gallons of fuel in three weeks of combat in Iraq, an amount equivalent to the gasoline consumed by all Allied armies combined during the four years of World War I.” [2]

In May 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Robert Bryce gives another example; “The Third Army (of General Petton) had about 400,000 men and used about 400,000 gallons of gasoline a day. Today the Pentagon has about a third that number of troops in Iraq yet they use more than four times as much fuel.”

The US DoD spent $8.2 billion on energy in fiscal year 2004.

“In fiscal 2005, DESC will buy about 128 million barrels of fuel at a cost of $8.5 billion, and Jet fuel constitutes nearly 70% of DoD’s petroleum product purchases.”[4]

For some, this is not enough though. “Because DOD’s consumption of oil represents the highest priority of all uses, there will be no fundamental limits to DOD’s fuel supply for many, many decades.” [5]

Sources:

[1] T. A. Mehuron, The Defense Budget at A Glance, Air Force Magazine, April 2005.
[2] Presentation by American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Red Cavaney held at the USAF/API Awards Banquet ˆ Arlington, Virginia, July 15, 2004.
[3] E. C. Aldbridge and D. M. Etter testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on June 5, 2001.
[4] American Forces Information Service News Article by G. J. Gilmore, DoD Has Enough Petroleum Products for Anti-Terror War, August 11, 2005.
[5] www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/fuel.pdf More Capable Warfighting Through Reduced Fuel Burden, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, The Defense Science Board Task Force on Improving Fuel Efficiency of Weapons Platforms, January 2001

Here is a short excerpt from Robert Bryce’s article. We’re too broke to subscribe and get the whole thing:

The Department of Defense now has about 27,000 vehicles in Iraq—and every one of them gets lousy gas mileage …

Although the Pentagon has tried to reduce the number of fuels it consumes, and now relies primarily on a jet-fuel-like substance called JP-8, the Defense Energy Support Center is currently supplying fourteen kinds of fuel to U.S. troops in Iraq.

In short, the American GI is the most energy-consuming soldier ever seen on the field of war. For computers and GPS units, Humvees and helicopters, the modern soldier is in constant need of energy: battery power, electric power, and petroleum. The U.S. military now uses about 1.7 million gallons of fuel a day in Iraq. Some of that fuel goes to naval vessels and aircraft, but even factoring out JP-5 fuel (which is what the Navy primarily uses), each of the 150,000 soldiers on the ground consumes roughly nine gallons of fuel a day. And that figure has been rising.

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King Penguins, The Falklands – Ben Tubby




We are penguins and war and politics seems very complicated to us. But it seems to me that when people are thinking about simple ways to save energy – using compact fluorescent lightbulbs and buying hybrid cars – it would be worthwhile to think about ending this war. Save lives, save energy, save the ice!

No species survives without some violence. We survive on krill and small fish. But no species on earth is as strong or as powerful as yours. We have not endangered the Earth, our home and yours.

Yours truly,
Penguin 11





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