Emperor penguins’ reign over Antarctic sea ice could be in decline by the beginning of the 22nd century.
Having just the right amount of sea ice is essential for the penguins' survival, but a warmer climate could lead to less sea ice. Scientists modeled population trends for the 45 known emperor penguin colonies, factoring in changes in sea ice from climate data. The projections show that all colonies will be smaller and that 20 percent will probably be quasi-extinct by 2100.
The results, published June 29 in Nature Climate Change, could have implications for classifying the penguins, and possibly other organisms, as endangered species.