The loss of sea ice is causing catastrophic effects among emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica and unprecedented reproductive failure, with predictions that more than 90% of colonies will be near extinct by the end of the century.
Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey today published the results of a new study on emperor penguin colonies in Nature Communications Earth & Environment.
emperor penguins, endemic to Antarcticadepend on stable sea ice that is firmly attached to the coast for most of the year, from April to January.
Once they arrive at the chosen breeding site, the penguins lay eggs in the Antarctic winter -from May to June- and the eggs hatch after 65 days, but the chicks do not fledge until the summer, between December and January.
The scientists who have participated in this study corroborated that at the beginning of December 2022 sea ice extent -the one who is close to the coast– had reached the previous minimum, which had been recorded a year earlier, and that the most extreme loss was observed in the central and eastern region down Mar de Bellingshausenwest of the Antarctic Peninsula, where that layer completely disappeared in November 2022.