‘Cute penguins: A reason for increased Global Warming’: Everyone likes cute and adorable little penguins but it is astonishing to realise how they could be contributors to global warming. Scientists have been studying penguin faeces for many years and recently it has attracted attention from space. The large penguin colonies can do feces in a large quantity which is also visible from space, motivating scientists to study the impact of such large quantities of animal waste.
Satellite images of penguin feces had allowed scientists to track the penguin population, breeding patterns and habitat loss. But the major problem caused by the penguin feces which is called guano is that it attracts sunlight and melts away the snow in the surroundings. This further exposes the soil which is ideal for the birds to lay eggs, thus increasing the population rapidly and the rising number of baby penguins.
According to the scientists of “The Antarctic Program”, “The colony of the penguins is very dirty and the harmful gasses discharged from the guano are making the temperature of Antarctica high, exposing the land in the area”.
The scientists of the University of Copenhagen studied and got to the underside of the Antarctica problem of greenhouse gas and observed that guano contained high levels of nitrous oxide. As we know penguins sustain a lot of nitrogen-rich repasts like fish and krill, so their excretion propagates large quantities of nitrous oxide, which is commonly known as the laughing gas. So penguins’ feces increases the level of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. Scientists allege this contributes heavily to global warming.
Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, with three hundred times more warming effect than that carbon dioxide. In dental procedures, nitrous oxide is used as a sedative, as a competitive drug and also is used in agriculture.
The exploration trip done by the scientists has been published in the journal “Science of the Total Environment”. In it, the team claims that more land will be exposed as glaciers will decline, and this is likely to increase the level of greenhouse gasses radiated from these regions.
“Penguins have been deemed to be an ideal ‘bio-indicator’ of the ecosystem and environmental changes, as alterations are there in the populations and colonies it directly or indirectly is responsible for ecological climatic changes,” they wrote. “The penguin adaptation colonies, the associated expansions of guano and their activities are known to considerably impact the terrestrial soil and ecosystem procedures and thereby can turn soils into greenhouse gas emission hotspots.”
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