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Warming Impacts Antarctic Food Chain

Rapid climate changes along the Antarctic Peninsula have caused a simultaneous shift in the biological productivity of the area, finds a new study that could explain why some penguins and other species there are on the decline.

The western portion of the Antarctic Peninsula (the northernmost part of the continent) has experienced 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius) of warming over about the last 30 years — more than anywhere else on the planet — and declining sea ice coverage.

This warming caused a shift from the usual cold, dry climate of the area to warmer, wetter conditions, at least in the northern parts of the peninsula, in the past few decades.

Image Above: The Gould ice-breaker, owned by the National Science Foundation, navigates the waters adjacent to Palmer base station. The Palmer base station is located in the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula. Clear days are unusual in this region as it is cloudy most of the time. Credit: Science/AAAS

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