By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane
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According to NASA the first six months of 2016 were the planet's warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees celsius warmer than the late nineteenth century.
This year, two key climate change indicators - global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent – also broke numerous records.
Photographer Massimo Rumi recorded three species of penguin; Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo, acclimating to warmer temperatures and the effects it brings.
He said: “I spent a few days observing penguins in their natural habitat. They are very funny and you can’t get tired of looking at them. Colonies are extremely noisy. Imagine 100,000 penguins calling each other!”
All penguin species benefit from the melting of the Antarctic Peninsula’s sea ice, as it provides them with more open land and, in turn, better breeding sites. But unfortunately there are also more detrimental effects.
Massimo said: “The negative impact of warming climate is the reduction of their main food source, krill, which has declined dramatically over the last 50 years.
“Gentoo have a more flexible diet than other two species, and can adapt to the shortage of krill, whilst Adélie and Chinstraps rely heavily on it for their survival”
The Gentoo penguin is considered a climate change ‘winner’ as they have successfully adapted, and even continue to grow in their numbers, unlike the struggling Adelie and Chinstrap species.
The photographer said: “Climate change is not the only threat to the krill population as fishing companies catch krill and turn it into animal feed and lucrative omega-3 dietary supplements.
“The delicate balance of this exceptional part of the world is therefore under serious threat because of human activities, and the impact could be potentially irreversible.”