Sunday, December 28, 2014

Appendix Steele's penguin "climate horror story" YouTube series, Video 4a

{Since Dr. Ainley took the time to answer my emailed questions and was quite helpful in exposing me to various background and studies I was unaware of, I sent him a courtesy copy of my post and this appendix - to see if he had any objections or suggestions before posting them.

Interestingly, he pointed out that I had not mentioned LaRue 2014, which happens to be the same study Steele's "Landscapesandcycles" (and the rest of the echo-chamber) have been trumpeting as supporting their 'No Worries' attitude towards the changes being observed in the Antarctic.  So I've spent the evening reading through that study and I do think comparing that study to what's being claimed on its behalf will make for a good follow up post, but for now what I have here will do.  Happy learning. }

This appendix goes together with my review of Jim Steele's IEEE "climate horror story" YouTube series, Video 4 part 1 regarding Penguins and condition at the Antarctic.  I've posted it in this stand alone page - so that my review and supporting information can be looked at side by side.

Mr. Steele says at 0:25: "... that population has giving rise to all these the horror stories about them going extinct by the end of the century."

It is a scientific horror story to misrepresent the truth!  

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Steele accuses these papers of being an "extinction horror show" yet you won't find the word "extinction" in them - instead you'll find assessments of conditions and sober nuanced projections based on the available facts.

Projected continent-wide declines of the emperor penguin under climate change
Jenouvrier, Holland, Stroeve, Serreze, Barbraud, Weimerskirch, Caswell

Nature Climate Change | Letter | Published online 29 June 2014

"... We project the dynamics of all 45 known emperor penguin colonies5 by forcing a sea-ice-dependent demographic model6, 7 with local, colony-specific, sea ice conditions projected through to the end of the twenty-first century. Dynamics differ among colonies, but by 2100 all populations are projected to be declining. At least two-thirds are projected to have declined by >50% from their current size. The global population is projected to have declined by at least 19%. ..."
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Antarctic penguin response to habitat change as Earth's troposphere reaches 2°C above preindustrial levels
David Ainley, Russell, Jenouvrier, Woehler, Lyver, Fraser, Kooyman

Ecological Society of America  |  Accepted: May 5, 2009

"We assess the response of pack ice penguins, Emperor (Aptenodytes forsteri) and Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae), to habitat variability and, then, by modeling habitat alterations, the qualitative changes to their populations, size and distribution, as Earth's average tropospheric temperature reaches 2°C above preindustrial levels (ca. 1860), ...

Second, we analyzed the composited model ENSEMBLE to estimate the point of 2°C warming (2025–2052) and the projected changes to sea ice coverage (extent, persistence, and concentration), sea ice thickness, wind speeds, precipitation, and air temperatures.

Third, we considered studies of ancient colonies and sediment cores and some recent modeling, which indicate the (space/time) large/centennial-scale penguin response to habitat limits of all ice or no ice.

Then we considered results of statistical modeling at the temporal interannual-decadal scale in regard to penguin response over a continuum of rather complex, meso- to large-scale habitat conditions, some of which have opposing and others interacting effects.

The ENSEMBLE meso/decadal-scale output projects a marked narrowing of penguins' zoogeographic range at the 2°C point. Colonies north of 70° S are projected to decrease or disappear: ∼50% of Emperor colonies (40% of breeding population) and ∼75% of Adélie colonies (70% of breeding population), but limited growth might occur south of 73° S.

Net change would result largely from positive responses to increase in polynya persistence at high latitudes, overcome by decreases in pack ice cover at lower latitudes and, particularly for Emperors, ice thickness. Adélie Penguins might colonize new breeding habitat where concentrated pack ice diverges and/or disintegrating ice shelves expose coastline.

Limiting increase will be decreased persistence of pack ice north of the Antarctic Circle, as this species requires daylight in its wintering areas. Adélies would be affected negatively by increasing snowfall, predicted to increase in certain areas owing to intrusions of warm, moist marine air due to changes in the Polar Jet Stream.

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I can't be quoting from every study so I simply want to list a few more an invitation for folks to consider what the scientists themselves are writing... rather than relying on the lip-service of a very biased spin-master.

Review of historical population information of emperor penguins
Barbara Wienecke

February 2011, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 153-167
Date: 08 Oct 2010 | Polar Biology
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First Recorded Loss of an Emperor Penguin Colony in the Recent Period of Antarctic Regional Warming: Implications for Other Colonies
Trathan, Fretwell, Stonehouse | February 28, 2011
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Here's an example of the layers of complexity these experts appreciate, as opposed to Steele's cartoon descriptions.

Competition Among Penguins and Cetaceans Reveal Trophic Cascades In The Western Ross Sea, Antarctica
Ainley, Ballard, Dugger  

Volume 87, Issue 8 (August 2006)  |
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Long-term contrasted responses to climate of two antarctic seabird species
Stephanie Jenouvrier, Christophe Barbraud, and Henri Weimerskirch

EAS Journals | Volume 86, Issue 11 (November 2005)
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Physiology and biochemistry of long-term fasting in birds
Yves Cherel, Jean-Patrice Robin, Yvon Le Maho

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Michelle Ann LaRue  |  April 2014
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Emperor penguins and climate change
Barbraud and Weimerskirch

Variations in ocean–atmosphere coupling over time in the Southern Ocean have dominant effects on sea-ice extent and ecosystem structure, but the ultimate consequences of such environmental changes for large marine predators cannot be accurately predicted because of the absence of long-term data series on key demographic parameters. Here, we use the longest time series available on demographic parameters of an Antarctic large predator breeding on fast ice and relying on food resources from the Southern Ocean. We show that over the past 50 years, the population of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in Terre Adélie has declined by 50% because of a decrease in adult survival during the late 1970s.

At this time there was a prolonged abnormally warm period with reduced sea-ice extent. Mortality rates increased when warm sea-surface temperatures occurred in the foraging area and when annual sea-ice extent was reduced, and were higher for males than for females.

In contrast with survival, emperor penguins hatched fewer eggs when winter sea-ice was extended. These results indicate strong and contrasting effects of large-scale oceanographic processes and sea-ice extent on the demography of emperor penguins, and their potential high susceptibility to climate change.

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What can the uninformed say about Flipper Banding?  It's been studied and talked about for a long time and is an area of great contention among experts.  But, it's certainly not an unknown.  Furthermore, errors in bird counts do not change anything about the global warming driven geophysical changes being observed. 

Here's a list of studies Dr Ainley shared with me.  They will give you an idea of the attention the banding issue receives:

1991 - An effect of instrument attachments on Foraging Trip Duration in Chinstrap Penguins -  Univ Calif Press, The Condor, Vol. 93, No 3 (Aug 1991) pp. 777-779

1996 - The effects of flipper bands on adult survival rate and reproduction in the Royal Penguin -  IBIS 138, p558

1998 - Is Penguin banding harmless - Polar Biology, 20: 409-413

2004 - Long-term effects of flipper bands on penguins - 
Royal Society, Biology, Letters March 2004

2004 - Workshop on penguin flipper banding and other forms of marking - final report -
Cape Town, Sea Point Aquarium, Marine and Coastal Management, Department
of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 28 January 2004.

2009 - Flipper bands do not effect foraging-trip duration of Magellanic Penguins -
Journal of Field Ornithology 80(4):408-418,

2010 - Effects of double bands on Magellanic Penguins -
Journal of Field Ornithology 81(2):195-205,

2011 - An ethical issue in biodiversity science: The monitoring of penguins with flipper bands -  Comptes Rendus Biologies 334, 2011, p.378-384

2011 - Reliability of flipper-banded penguins as indicators of climate change -
Nature Letters, Jan 2011, Vol 469, p.203

2011- Flipper bands harm penguins - Jan2, 2011 - Science Now - Jan 12, 2011

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Like animals everywhere, Antarctic penguins are adjusting, or not, to changes in their habitat brought by warming temperatures. With extensive field research on their existing colonies, and a 45,000 year-old record contained in deposits of their bones and egg shells, we know more about how Antarctic penguins will adjust to rapid climate change than almost any other creature on Earth.

Animation illustrating penguin response to advance and retreat of ice sheets in the Ross Sea: click here to begin

In Antarctica’s far south (Ross Island), where it is still cold, colonies have been growing. With warming temperatures and stronger winds, breaking apart the sea ice, penguins have easier access. The wind sweeps the coastal waters free of ice. The penguins are moving here because they can now swim rather than walk to find food, and bring more back to their chicks.

In Antarctica’s far north (Anvers Island) air temperatures have become VERY warm and ice no longer forms on the sea. The Antarctic penguins do not live well under such conditions, and each year fewer of them nest here, as is shown in the graph above. They are moving south to where it is colder and there is still plenty of sea ice. Other kinds of penguins --- ones who can not live where there is sea ice --- are moving south to replace the Adélie Penguins.


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Introduction to Antarctica

About Antarctica
Predictions of Antarctica's Future
Further Information
Related Blogs

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Scientists Map Penguins From Space By Locating Their Feces

June 2, 2009  | British Antarctic Survey

Penguin poo (guano) stains, visible from space, have helped British scientists locate emperor penguin breeding colonies in Antarctica. Knowing their location provides a baseline for monitoring their response to environmental change.

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Page 124 – section 3.3. Dumont d’Urville

Dumont d’Urville (66.7°S, 140.0°E, 43 m a.s.l.) is situated on a rocky outcrop, some 5 km away from the continental ice slope. Interpretation of the wind climate at the station is complicated because of its offshore location and the presence of islands between it and the coast (Mather and Miller, 1967). The wind measured at Dumont d’Urville is a mix of katabatic winds advected from the ice sheet and the synoptic-scale circumpolar easterlies. Cold air is advected towards the station when katabatic winds from the ice sheet penetrate over the ocean/sea ice. This is the reason why high wind speeds bring low temperatures, in sharp contrast to the other stations in this study (Figure 2(a)).
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7.11    Terre Adélie and George V Lands                      Orography and the local environment

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Winter over at Dumont d'Urville – a scientist's blog
by Guillaume Dargaud

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Is There a Connection between the Ozone Hole and Global Warming?

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What does the ozone hole have to do with climate change?

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Palmer Station Antarctica LTER
A member of the Long Term Ecological Research Network

Palmer Station Antarctica (LTER) is an interdisciplinary polar marine research program established in 1990 as part of a national network of long-term ecological research sites created by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF). Being one of three U.S. research station located in Antarctica, Palmer LTER focuses on the region along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP).

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Hiding from the evidence, does not make it go away!:

August 2013

Indicators of Climate Change in California characterizes the multiple facets of climate change in California. The report tracks trends in greenhouse gas levels that influence climate, changes in the state’s climate, and the impacts of climate change on California’s environment and people.
The report does this by bringing together and displaying large amounts of scientific data as “indicators”. These indicators rely on monitoring and research activities carried out by state and federal agencies, universities, and other research institutions.

Annual air temperature - 
Since 1895, annual average air temperatures in California have increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F), with minimum temperatures increasing at a rate almost twice as fast as the increase in maximum temperatures (approximately 2F/100 years and
1F/100 years, respectively). In most regions of the state, warming accelerated over the past three decades.
Extreme heat events - 
During the summer, heat extremes—measured as the intensity, frequency, duration and regional extent of heat patterns—have increased since 1950, especially at night. Nighttime heat waves have been increasing in all regions of the state. The Coastal North and Mojave regions have experienced the greatest increase in daytime heat waves.
Winter chill
 - Warming is evident in other indicators. In the fruit growing valleys of California, winter chill time, a factor critical for fruit trees to produce flowers and fruit, has been decreasing since 1950.
Freezing level elevation - 
At Lake Tahoe, freezing level elevation—the altitude in the atmosphere at which temperatures drop below freezing—has risen by about 150 meters (500 feet) over the past twenty years, indicating warmer conditions at higher elevations.
Precipitation - 
Large year-to-year variability in the amount of annual precipitation and periods of consecutive dry or wet years are evident, with no apparent trend… among others

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Earth Observation - Antarctic Temperature Trend 1982 -2004

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Cold, Hard Facts
By Dr. Peter Doran 

Published: July 27, 2006  |  NewYorkTimes

"... Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.

Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. ..."

"... Also missing from the skeptics’ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge differences of scientific opinion. …"

Speaking of Peter Doran, he had some interesting ideas to share during this TED talk.

"Bringing opinions on climate change closer to reality" 
Peter Doran professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences 
at the University of Illinois at Chicago, gives a TED talk

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Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth
Bromwich, Nicolas, Monaghan, Lazzara, Keller, Weidner, Wilson

Received 02 May 2012 | Nature GeoScience
 also see:

The contrarian crowd like spinning some of these studies, "Hey lookie, heat is being pushed in from elsewhere, ergo Antarctica isn't warming because of global warming."  

It's another indication of their lack of appreciation for the concept of our global heat distribution engine, moving heat and energy and moisture through many different circulation systems.
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Winter warming in West Antarctica caused by central tropical Pacific warming
 Ding, Steig, Battisti, Küttel

Nature Geoscience 4, 398–403 (2011) |
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Steele plays a subtle head game, think about his "climate horror story" chant, seems like it's meant to anesthetize his audience, 'haha, no horror story going on around here.' 

Unfortunately a sober honest look at the evidence reveals we truly are witnessing the unfolding of an environmental horror story going down.  Being blind to it doesn't make it go away.

Coastal Antarctic permafrost melting faster than expected: Arctic-like melt rates appearing in Coastal Antarctica

Accelerated thermokarst formation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.
Levy, Fountain, Dickson, Head, Okal, Marchant, Watters.  

Scientific Reports, 2013; 3 DOI: 10.1038/srep02269
July 24, 2013  |  University of Texas at Austin

Scientists have documented an acceleration in the melt rate of permafrost in a part of Antarctica where the ice had been considered stable. The melt rates are comparable with the Arctic and could preview melting permafrost in other parts of a warming Antarctica. In Garwood Valley, scientists found melt rates accelerated consistently from 2001 to 2012, rising to about 10 times the historical average.
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Rather than Steele's simplistic ridicule and dismissal, this article reviews the complexities of what's happening with Antarctic sea ice along with links back to original scientific sources.

Antarctic sea ice hits a record max, and that’s not good

September 19, 2014 |

For the third year in a row, the sea ice ringing Antarctica has set a new record. Its extent is the farthest now since observations began in the late ’70s, and scientists say the growth is largely the result of climate change. ... report in New Scientist. It’s the latest evidence of a small but significant growth trend of about 1.5 percent per decade. ...
 "...In fact, it might be a symptom of the world heating up. The larger extent could be caused by more ice melting, say researchers at NOAA: “We suspect that the increasing presence of icebergs broken off from ice shelves and glaciers within the Antarctic sea ice pack is a major contributor to a temporary but increasing trend in the Antarctic sea-ice extent.”
 New Scientist adds another possible reason:
The melting of ice on the Antarctic mainland may also be creating more sea ice, by dumping easily frozen fresh water into the ocean, says Nerilie Abram of the Australian National University in Canberra. ..." "The sea ice is not likely to keep expanding forever. Parts of the continent are warming at an unthinkable pace; over the last half-century, winters to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula have gotten hotter by 5.8 degrees Celsius, the fastest-known warming rate on the globe. 
Because of more greenhouse gases and a loss of stratospheric ozone (even though this “ozone hole” could heal in a few decades), Antarctica is expected to lose a quarter of its sea-ice extent and a full third of its volume by 2100, according to Australia’s Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center."
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Jim Steele's strategy of labeling, ridicule and dismissal works great for putting his apathetic Republican/Libertarian crowd at ease, but it does not erase what is happening in the world around us.  Finally, here's another overview of how current climate/weather changes are impacting penguins

How Climate Change Threatens Penguins

By: Shaye Wolf  |  September 2009

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