Even a global temperature increase of 2°C is likely to cause sharp declines in penguin colonies.
A new WWF report – 2°C is Too Much – shows that the colonies of 50 per cent of the iconic emperor penguins and 75 per cent of the Adélie penguins are under threat.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is pushing for a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, to replace the Kyoto Protocol. That may well happen. I am afraid, though, that without a full commitment from the major greenhouse gas producing countries we will see many of these dire predictions happen.
Climate change models forecast that a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial level could be a reality in less than 40 years, producing a strong reduction in the sea ice cover of the Southern Ocean which is an essential nesting and feeding ground for Emperor and Adélie penguins.
A reduction in the sea ice is also likely to have a knock-on effect on the abundance of krill, which is a vital food source for penguins....
A rise in global average temperatures of 2°C is widely regarded as a threshold level for unacceptable risks of dangerous climate change. Many recent climate models forecast likely temperatures rises in excess of this.