©Wolfgang Kaehler

Antarctic Recap

Southern fur seals and King penguin in snow at Cooper Bay, South Georgia

It has been a few years that I made a trip to Antarctica and South Georgia in December.  This time I noticed the amount of snowfalls we had during the two trips the end of November and in December.  Taking to scientists Dr. Roger Hewitt and Professor Chuck Kennicutt the weather pattern have changed.  With the warming of Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands, the air can hold more moisture and more snow is falling.  As a result of more snow, penguins are not able to built their nets and lay the eggs as early as they used to do.  In the 1970’s and through the early 1990’s I saw Adelie penguins hatching the beginning of December – now they hatch much later.  The question is how this will effect the penguins in the long run….


Adelie penguins in snowfall at Hope Bay on November 27


Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island with their nest site still covered with snow on November 29th.  In the past they would incubate their eggs or have small chicks at this time.


A few Gentoo penguins are incubating on November 30th on a snow free patch at Yankee Harbour.


Elephant seals in snow at Grytviken, South Georgia


The remains of the whaling station at Grytviken, South Georgia in heavy snow fall


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