【题  名】 南极反常暴风雨致万只小企鹅被冻死

【出  处】 新快报

【日  期】 2008.07.14

【作  者】 方海

【关键词】 触目惊心 气候变化 极端天气 南极 暴风雨 企鹅

【正  文】

 

脚下就是幼禽的尸骸(红圈内),企鹅父母悲鸣。

科学家担忧,不出10年,企鹅或因气候变化而灭绝。
  南极地区连续爆发反常暴风雨,导致成千上万只新生小企鹅活活冻死。据估计,经此一
难,南极企鹅数目将锐减两成。南极专家认为,这是气候变化给南极地区带来的又一灾难性
影响。
  南极下雨多过下雪
  科学家相信,受灾最严重的阿德利企鹅数目将下降至80%,如果天气短期内不能转好,
情况可能更严重,不到10年,这一物种或将从地球上消失。
  在过去50年里,南极大陆的平均温度上升了3摄氏度,达到-14.7摄氏度,冬季频发的
暴风雪渐渐被更加冰冷刺骨的暴风雨所代替。
  阿德利企鹅刚出生时仅有薄薄一层保暖皮毛,小企鹅需要40天的时间才能长出防水的
羽毛,然而连日暴雨将整个巢穴都浸湿了,企鹅父母在时还能为子女遮风挡雨,一旦离巢觅
食,小企鹅往往会因为体温过低而死(见小图)。
  “长期以来人们注意到了冰架在溶解,但南极冷雨却是前所未有的新现象,企鹅正面临
寒冷致死的威胁。”刚刚从南极归来的纽约探险家强?鲍尔马斯特说,“它们的皮毛可以在大
雪中保护自己,却不能应付暴雨,这就好像一个穿着厚夹克却被雨淋湿的人一样。”
  帝企鹅乐园遭摧毁
  奥斯卡获奖纪录片《帝企鹅日记》描绘了憨态可掬的帝企鹅生存及繁衍的场景,令人印
象深刻,然而西雅图华盛顿大学生物学教授笛伊?波尔斯曼痛心指出,2006年12月,也就
是这部电影拍摄不到两年后,她再抵达当年的拍摄地南极南部,“已经完全认不出这就是纪
录片里的企鹅乐园。”笛伊说,她完全没看到帝企鹅幼仔,也看不到浮冰,冰山数目大大减
少。据悉,去年9月份,也就是帝企鹅育儿期间,当地曾被一场大型暴风雨所袭击,“极少
企鹅幼仔能够幸存。”
  “看见企鹅们脚下都是下一代的残骸,这才是我所见过气候变化最令人震撼以及最直接
的证据。”鲍尔马斯特说。

Miserable start to life: Cold, wet and dying antarctic penguins try to eke out an existence

Rain has soaked this Adelie penguin chick before its feathers are capable of repelling water

Explorer Jon Bowermaster: 'Watching penguins walking among the skeletons of their young is the most powerful evidence of climate change I have seen'

ens of thousands of newly-born penguins are freezing to death as Antarctica is lashed by freak rain storms.

Scientists believe the numbers of Adelie penguins may have fallen by as much as 80 per cent – and, if the downpours continue, the species will be extinct within ten years.

And the Emperor penguin – made famous in the Oscar-winning documentary March Of The Penguins – is also under threat.

Temperatures on the Antarctic peninsula have risen by 3C over the past 50 years to an average of -14.7C and rain is now far more common than snow.

Adelie penguins are born with a thin covering of down and it takes 40 days for them to grow protective water-repellent feathers. With epic rains drenching their ancestral nesting grounds, their parents try to protect them. But when the adults leave to fish for food, or are killed by predators such as seals, the babies become soaked to the skin and die from hypothermia.

‘Everyone talks about the melting of the glaciers but having day after day of rain in Antarctica is a totally new phenomenon. As a result, penguins are literally freezing to death,’ said Jon Bowermaster, a New York-based explorer who has recently returned from Antarctica.

‘In the past five years, torrential rains have become increasingly common there. We saw Adelie penguin chicks shivering during nearly six days of continuous storms.

‘If it had been snow, like in the old days, their down would be perfectly equipped to cope. But they can’t take rain. It’s like wearing a down jacket that gets soaking wet.

‘At night, the temperature would dip and the next morning we’d find them dead from hypothermia.

‘Other marine creatures like seals in the Antarctic are born with fur, but penguin chicks have nothing to protect them.

‘It is all very well talking theoretically about how the ice cap could disappear – but watching penguins walking among the skeletons of their young is the most powerful evidence of climate change I have seen.’

Biologist Professor P. Dee Boersma, of the University of Washington in Seattle, has published a study in the magazine BioScience in which she says that the warming climate is also threatening the Emperor penguin.

She visited East Antarctica in December 2006 – less than two years after March Of The Penguins was shot – and says it would be unrecognisable to anyone who saw the film.

‘I saw no Emperor penguin chicks, no sea-ice and fewer than a dozen small icebergs.

I was just shocked,’ she said.

‘It was the first time our expedition leader had seen the area free of ice since he started going there in the Eighties.

‘There was no way chicks could have survived. In late September, when they would have been little more than half grown, we were told a large storm had hit the area. Emperor chicks are similar to the Adelie – they are downy and not waterproof and could not survive in the cold sea for any period of time.

‘These penguins are sentinels who are showing we really are looking at big changes in the world’s climate.’

Athena Dinar, a spokeswoman for the British Antarctic Survey, said that 50 years ago two days of snow were recorded for every one day of rain at the region’s Faraday meteorological station. ‘Now, in the past few years, the trend is two days of rain to every one day of snow.’




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