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Birds and climate change

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:02 am
by Neil Fitzgerald
I don't think this one has been posted here yet.
Appears Adelies might be 'winners', for now.

Climate Change Winners: Receding Ice Fields Facilitate Colony Expansion and Altered Dynamics in an Adélie Penguin Metapopulation

There will be winners and losers as climate change alters the habitats of polar organisms. For an Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) colony on Beaufort Island (Beaufort), part of a cluster of colonies in the southern Ross Sea, we report a recent population increase in response to increased nesting habitat as glaciers have receded. Emigration rates of birds banded as chicks on Beaufort to colonies on nearby Ross Island decreased after 2005 as available habitat on Beaufort increased, leading to altered dynamics of the metapopulation. Using aerial photography beginning in 1958 and modern satellite imagery, we measured change in area of available nesting habitat and population size of the Beaufort colony. Population size varied with available habitat, and both increased rapidly since the 1990s. In accord with glacial retreat, summer temperatures at nearby McMurdo Station increased by ~0.50°C per decade since the mid-1980s. Although the Ross Sea is likely to be the last ocean with an intact ecosystem, the recent retreat of ice fields at Beaufort that resulted in increased breeding habitat exemplifies a process that has been underway in the Ross Sea during the entire Holocene. Furthermore, our results are in line with predictions that major ice shelves and glaciers will retreat rapidly elsewhere in the Antarctic, potentially leading to increased breeding habitat for Adélie penguins. Results further indicated that satellite imagery may be used to estimate large changes in Adélie penguin populations, facilitating our understanding of metapopulation dynamics and environmental factors that influence regional populations. ... ne.0060568

Now part of a PLOS Collection of articles: Ecological Impacts of Climate Change ... ol.v01.i17

Re: Birds and climate change

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:42 pm
by Michael Szabo
Thanks for posting those links, Neil. After reading that Adélie populations have declined by 65 per cent over the past 25 years on the Antarctic Peninsula as temperatures have risen, it's good know the colony on Beaufort Island is bucking the trend.

Here's another interesting link on the impact of receding sea ice: ... a-ice-melt

ESA graphic on sea ice melt

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:34 pm
by Michael Szabo
This European Space Agency animated graphic shows the seasonal Arctic sea ice melt over the period 1978-2010: ... r_embedded

This shows that no sea ice has formed adjacent to the northern Alaskan coastline since c1999.

Re: Birds and wind farms/climate change

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:45 am
by David Riddell
Not sure what to make of that paper mentioned by Neil, but the overall patterns of change in the Antarctic are very different from those prevailing in the Arctic. Sea ice extent around Antarctic has been expanding steadily over the past several decades - ... arctic.png - and is currently more than 2 standard deviations above the 1981-2010 average - ... series.png

You can see the current sea ice extent here: ... _hires.png

Mean temperatures over the past 35 years between 60S and 70S have been trending very slightly downwards, at 0.015 degrees per decade - ... _v03_3.png

Yes, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed substantially, but the rest of coastal Antarctica has, if anything, cooled slightly.

Warm ocean causing most Antarctic ice shelf mass loss - NASA

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:52 pm
by Michael Szabo
Thanks for those further links, David. Antarctic sea ice is one part of the overall picture. A recently published (June 2013) study by NASA and university researchers shows that ocean waters are melting the undersides of ice shelves around Antarctica and are responsible for most of the continent's ice shelf mass loss. The graphic embedded in this linked page shows how widespread this ice shelf mass loss has been.

Warm ocean causing most Antarctic ice shelf mass loss: ... 30613.html

Ice sheet and glacier melt contribute to sea level rise

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:09 pm
by Michael Szabo
According to new data published in Nature Geoscience in April 2013 a satellite that measures gravity fluctuations on Earth due to changes in the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica has detected a rapid acceleration in the melting of glacier ice over the past decade which it says could have a dramatic impact on the world's sea levels.

"The data indicates the ice sheets are losing around 300 billion tonnes of ice a year. Together, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain about 99.5 per cent of the Earth's glacier ice, which could increase average sea levels by 63 metres if they were to melt completely."

Contribution of ice sheet and mountain glacier melt to recent sea level rise: ... o1829.html

Re: Birds and wind farms/climate change

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:58 am
by Jan
On the news early today, RadioNZ/nat., it said Contact Energy had decided not to go ahead with a windfarm proposal on the Waikato coast. I don't know where to find the link for this news, maybe someone can help?

I am guessing this is the farm that would have affected migrating waders up and down the local flyway on the west coast N Is.

Re: Birds and wind farms/climate change

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:37 pm
by Neil Fitzgerald
Here is a news piece on the west Waikato windfarm: ... ds-of-jobs
A fair bit of work was done on birds and other wildlife in the area. I think there was at least one paper in Notornis about one part of the research.

Re: Birds and wind farms/climate change

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:59 am
by Neil Fitzgerald
As is to be expected, there is a bit of talk about other parties picking up the west Waikato project. ... l-on-cards
Note the mention of bird monitoring.

It's probably only a temporary blip, but I think it nice that electricity demand is flat. Maybe Huntly can be mothballed. Last I heard that was our biggest point source of CO2 and there was talk of closing it a couple of years ago.

Climate change 'gold standard' met - AP

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:28 pm
by Michael Szabo