Global Warming – and Snow

Nesting in the Snow, Gentoo Penguin

The conventional wisdom is that climate change is heating the poles first, and then the rest of the planet. So you’d think we’d be sweltering here in Antarctica. Far from it: in the past week it has been snowing almost constantly, making it hard on the penguins who should be well into their nesting cycle by now, with chicks due any day. But with heavy sea ice, and piles of snowfall, they are struggling, like this Gentoo penguin, still sitting on eggs despite being nearly buried in snow. They may make it, but as the days roll on – the chance of successfully raising chicks this season seems more unlikely.

In fact, this is exactly what is predicted by climate scientists: unusual swings of temperature, and heavy, unseasonal precipitation.

In any case, this picture was not a complicated one. I deliberately over-exposed by 2/3 stop to keep the whites bright and locked focus on the bird’s eye to make sure it was sharp, above all else. It is a portrait of a wonderful bird, facing challenges far beyond its control.

We have another few days here aboard the National Geographic Explorer before starting back across the Drake Passage (luckily, our southbound crossing was a breeze).

Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens