Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Penguin Paradise, For Now

At 28 degrees, parts of the Antarctic ocean are so cold, only the salt keeps it from freezing. But that’s just the way Adelie penguins like it.

Biologist David Ainley has been studying Antarctic penguins for 12 years. He took CBS News correspondent John Blackstone to Cape Royds to show the unexpected impact of global warming.

So far, climate change has been good for the penguins of Cape Royds. Clearing ice has left plenty of open ocean for feeding. But the air is still frigid, averaging just 15 degrees in the summer.

“In the short term, Cape Royds is the place to be if you're a penguin,” says Ainley.

This year, 5,000 Adelie penguins converged at Royds to breed and raise their young.

For now, the complex interactions of a changing climate seem to favor this one small colony at Cape Royds. But this really is the end of the earth--as far south as penguins can go in search of the cold climate essential to their survival.

Source: CBS News

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