The Antarctic sea ice has melted, and the emperor penguin, known as “frozen”, may become extinct in this century

  Due to man-made climate change, the risk of species extinction is accelerating, and climate-related local extinctions have even become a common phenomenon.
  A few days ago, a study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the United States showed that as global temperatures continue to warm, the rate of melting of Antarctic sea ice is gradually accelerating, and the living space of emperor penguins continues to be squeezed.
  If this phenomenon has not been effectively contained, it is estimated that by 2100, most of the emperor penguin population will be extinct.

Emperor Penguins in Antarctica

  Related research papers entitled “The Call of the Emperor Penguins: Legal Responses to Species Threatened by Climate Change” were published in the journal Global Change Biology. The corresponding author is Stephanie, a scientist in the Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA · Genovier.

Related papers
The emperor penguin may be “quasi-extinct” in this century

  The emperor penguin is the largest individual species in the penguin family. It is extremely cold-resistant and can reproduce normally even in the winter in Antarctica. But at the same time, the emperor penguin is also one of the iconic species threatened by climate change. The significant reduction of Antarctic sea ice is closely related to the life cycle of the emperor penguin.
  For example, the rapid rupture of early sea ice can endanger the survival of young penguins. In 2016, in the Harley Bay area of ​​Antarctica, more than 10,000 juvenile emperor penguins drowned due to the extensive rupture of sea ice.
  In addition, sea ice will also indirectly affect emperor penguins through the food web. When the ice shelf collapses, huge flat icebergs may form, which prevents penguins from entering the foraging area. As the distance to the foraging area increases, the probability of successful breeding of emperor penguins will be greatly reduced.
  In fact, emperor penguins generally breed on the continents around Antarctica, such as the coast, ice shelves, or stable sea ice on islands. During the non-breeding season, the adult emperor penguins will rest on ocean ice floes that can move with ocean currents or wind, seeking refuge, hunting, or molting.
  In other words, whether it is during the breeding season or after breeding, the sea ice concentration will affect the survival and reproduction of some emperor penguin populations. At present, the emperor penguin maintains a delicate balance with the environment. However, with global warming, extreme climates continue to emerge. Once the trend of environmental deterioration cannot be reversed, the emperor penguin population may usher in a disaster.

Antarctic sea ice changes are closely related to the life cycle of emperor penguins

  Genovier and team members demonstrated that Antarctic sea ice changes are closely related to the emperor penguin life cycle through a climate model, and put forward a prediction based on simulation data, “If sea ice continues to melt at the current rate, The penguin population will slowly decrease until around 2040; but by 2100, about 98% of the emperor penguin population will disappear, and the species is quasi-extinct because the sea ice coverage rate has dropped to a very low value at this time. ”
  Quasi-extinction” lies between extreme danger and extinction. It describes the survival status of species in a more objective manner, rather than directly declaring extinction, such as the wild South China tiger in China.
  The results of the study show that extreme events will severely affect species population dynamics and geographical representation. For example, Emperor penguins’ ability to withstand catastrophic events will be disturbed, which is also an important criterion for assessing the risk of species extinction.

Changes in sea ice coverage and emperor penguin populations between 2050, 2080 and 2100
Experts call for a legal framework to protect vulnerable species

  The impact of global temperature warming is not limited to emperor penguins. The paper reveals that 16% to 30% of species are under threat in the current climate.
  ”Scientists have the responsibility to make people aware of the need for change through objective evidence, so we have compiled this paper to provide additional analysis of future predictions and provide information for the conservation policy of this species.” Genovier said.
  Although it is difficult to improve the climate, conservation actions can improve the ability of species to adapt to climate pressures, including protecting important habitats, increasing habitat connectivity, and reducing non-climatic stress factors.

Polar bear

  In Genovier’s view, the Paris Agreement passed in 2015 is by far the most important action to prevent catastrophic species loss. The climate change agreement was signed by nearly 200 contracting parties, and at the same time, it put forward provisions for rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  In addition, the “U.S. Endangered Species Act” is also one of the most powerful environmental laws in the world, dedicated to preventing extinction and promoting the restoration of endangered species. For species threatened by climate, ESA requires the use of science-based and actionable tools to reduce climate threats and improve resilience.
  In 2008, the polar bear became the first species to be included in the ESA protection list mainly due to global warming. However, it should be noted that some protection measures of ESA do not currently apply to climate-threatened species that occur outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
  Among them, the Genovier team summarized a protection list based on ESA’s statistics on species related to climate change, showing the years and results of the protection agreement, the main threats of species related to climate change, and the foreseeable considerations. The time period used in the future and the evaluation agency. (Abbreviations: FWS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; NMFS, National Marine Fisheries Service, DPS, different population subdivisions.)
  Phil Terrassen, chief research scientist of the British Antarctic Survey, has been engaged in predator tracking research for many years. Has participated in more than 20 field trips to Antarctica.
  Terrassen said: “The protection of endangered species requires the establishment of a suitable international legal framework based on the best available scientific evidence. At the same time, efforts should be made immediately to focus on those tools that are already in place, such as ESA, etc. , We hope that the global community can listen to the voice of science.”