Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Liar, Liar, Penguins on Fire!

Combusting emperor penguin breathing fire on a  Stevenson screen
Antarctic Stevenson screen finding itself in a warmer climate due to
penguin combustion. 

One of my esteemed colleagues, professor Watts, has recently suggested that the alleged warming on the Antarctic peninsula is an artifact due to the vicinity of meteorological stations to densely populated inhabited areas. While I'm convinced that this can explain part of the alleged warming, I believe that there are other factors in play as well. Natural factors. Or to be more specific: penguins.

A penguin's body consists of nearly 40% fat. Hence, a penguin is a very flammable creature, and it may incinerate at the merest exposure to fire or sparks (like fat Americans are known to do). Before there was human occupation on the Antarctic peninsula, penguins were rarely exposed to fire. However, now there are cigarette butts, discarded lighters, hot batteries, spark plugs, smouldering barbecue ashes and other sources of fire lying around everywhere, and hence the likelihood that a penguin catches fire has increased significantly. And a burning penguin can generate an enormous amount of heat. If the penguin then happens to be near to a meteorological station, then that station will record a dramatic increase in temperature. It is enough to have a few such incidents to obtain an artificial (or maybe I should say "Sphenisciformogene") but significant increase in recorded temperature on a small area like the Antarctic peninsula.

I will not be able to post any more for the next couple of hours, because I have to write a game-changing scientific paper expounding my discovery and submit it to some scientific journal. Stay tuned: this is going to be really really big.