98 The Antarctic Peninsula
We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com - 98. The Antarctic Peninsula · Antarctica Where Penguins Fly in the Sea Antarctica has no permanent human settlements; instead this vast land, which is covered with ice and surrounded by sea ice, is the domain of another two-legged creature. Millions of penguins, that great icon of the continent, inhabit Antarctica, many of them on the Antarctic Peninsula at the northern-most tip. The Emperor Penguin, the largest of all the species, is endemic to Antarctica. Every year, the Emperor Penguins make an amazing journey. Coupled in mating pairs, they trek 50-120 kilometres across the Antarctic wasteland to their ancestral breeding grounds. Here, each female lays a single egg. The penguins look somewhat awkward on land, where they either waddle or toboggan, sliding over the ice on their bellies, but they are agile and elegant underwater. Early Antarctic explorers actually mistook them for fish, and classified them accordingly. With their streamlined bodies and wings that have evolved into strong, stiff flippers, penguins are perfectly shaped to fly through the water. The Emperor Penguin can dive for up to 22 minutes at a time, and to a depth of more than 500 metres. Like its smaller cousin, the Ad?lie Penguin, the Emperor depends on sea ice to breed. The amount of sea ice also influences the abundance of krill, a shrimp-like crustacean that is a vital food source for the penguins and for the fish they eat. Studies show that in the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures are rising at one of the fastest rates anywhere on Earth. It has probably been 10,000 years since the ice shelves in this area have been as small as they are today. When the sea ice disappears, so will the colonies of penguins. The rapid rate of warming is expected to continue, and large numbers of Emperor and Ad?lie Penguins will be under threat by 2050, making the penguin an ominous symbol of global warming.