Record low Antarctic sea ice causes 'catastrophic breeding failure' of emperor penguins

Record low Antarctic sea ice causes 'catastrophic breeding failure' of emperor penguins

‘Between October and January 2022–2023 sea ice around the continent … or below to the lowest ever recorded in the 45 year satellite record,’ says study

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Emperor penguins have suffered disastrous breeding failure due to record low Antarctic sea ice, according to a report Thursday.

The penguins live only in Antarctica and are at great risk as the 2022 spring season saw record-low sea ice extent in Antarctica that has huge effect on breeding, according to a paper published in the Communications Earth and Environment journal.

"Between October and January 2022–2023 sea ice around the continent has been at or below to the lowest ever recorded in the 45 year satellite record," it said.

The study said in four out of five colonies in the region, it is likely no chicks survived as those were affected by early sea ice loss in late 2022.

"Since the use of satellite imagery to monitor emperor penguins first started in 2009, there have been isolated cases of catastrophic breeding failure due to fast ice loss across Antarctica," scientists warned.

It is the first recorded incident of widespread breeding failure of emperor penguins that is "clearly linked with large-scale contractions" in sea ice extent, added the study.

Scientists said Sentinel2 satellite images proves regional breeding failure of emperor penguin colonies is due to sea ice loss.



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