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Global Warming Freezes Penguin Chicks
60秒科学节目（SSS）是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目，英文名称：Scientific American – 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主，节目仅一分钟的时间，主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍，对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术，提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。
Life isn’t easy for a penguin chick. There’s a lot to worry about: predators, having enough food, and now the changing climate.
Researchers spent nearly thirty years tracking chicks at Punta Tombo, the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins. They found that increased rainfall and extreme heat due to climate change are killing chicks. The study is in the journal PLoS ONE. [P. Dee Boersma and Ginger A. Rebstock, Climate Change Increases Reproductive Failure in Magellanic Penguins]
Down-covered chicks are too big to receive parental protection from the elements, but are not old enough to have grown protective waterproof feathers. So they get soaked to the skin during rainstorms and die of hypothermia. Their downy feathers do them a disservice during heat waves too, since they can’t go for a swim to cool off until their waterproof feathers grow in.
Chicks not getting enough food are even more susceptible to the elements, as they lack the fuel to maintain their body temperature.
Storms during breeding season are already on the rise, and are expected to keep increasing. So climate change will likely pose a challenge not only in Magellanic penguins, but other seabirds as well. It’ll be sink or swim.