More good news from the land of ice. Not only is the polar bear population increasing in the north but there are about twice as many penguins in Anarctica as was previously thought.
While previous estimates put the number of emperor penguins between 280,000 to 350,000, a study based on satellite imagery counted 595,000 birds, over half a million!!
… a team of researchers melded several kinds of high-definition imagery captured by satellites to arrive at their new number. They sharpened the images to allow them to differentiate between penguins, shadows on the ground, and the penguins' poop, which is plentiful enough to show up in satellite pictures.
The team also used actual ground counts of penguins in their analysis. According to Peter Fretwell, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey:
The ground counts told us the density of penguin clusters, and we used this to multiply the area of penguins calculated by our satellite image analysis into penguin numbers. Source
According to sources, during the last 50 years air temperatures on the Antarctic peninsula have risen between 4 and 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 and 2.5 degrees Celsius). The annual average temperature today is -58°F or -50°C.*
Apparently the balmy temperatures have not taken the toll on the wildlife that has been feared by some.
* I found different numbers for the average, but to me anything below 32°F is mind numbing.