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Antarctic Postcard from the Field: Glacier Retreat on Beaufort Island - Windows to the Universe

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   Image courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Beaufort Island, Antarctica, January 30, 2007

Glacier Retreat on Beaufort Island

For millennia, the penguin colonies on this island were confined to the beach area, the only place free of snow; it was also not too steep and had a good supply of rocks to build nests. In the top picture, you can see the light brown areas. Although a choice spot near to abundant food, the colony was not able to grow, as all the suitable space was occupied. Birds without nests had to look elsewhere. In the last 10 years, due to warming temperatures, the glacier on this island has been retreating to the place you see it today (see top picture) and in the process has exposed large areas which are now suitable for Adelie penguins to colonize (see bottom picture). We expect this colony to be growing as the penguins discover the new nesting areas.

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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica

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