Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reindeer Are Shrinking, Scientists Say

                Our reindeer are shrinking! Due to global warming, of course.

                At least, that’s what some scientists from Britain and Norway surmise. And what a terrible time to break the news to us…right before Christmas. Couldn’t they have waited a couple of weeks and told us after New Years? What if Rudolph and crew are too weak to fly?
                The scientists have discovered that adult reindeer living on the Arctic island of Svalbard are getting smaller, and naturally they think climate change is the culprit. They say that adult reindeer born here in 2010 weigh- on average- 12 percent less than those born in 1994. Their findings were presented recently at a meeting of the British Ecological Society.
                According to an Associated Press report, an ecologist from Scotland’s James Hutton Institute stated that rising temperatures in the Arctic mean Svalbard is getting more rain, creating a hard ice sheet that the island’s reindeer can’t easily break through to reach the lichen which comprises the bulk of their winter food. (They have no trouble getting through a deep snow-pack?). The B.E.S. says, “The reindeer starve, aborting their calves or giving birth to much lighter young.”  Scientists claim land surface temperatures in the Arctic were about five degrees Fahrenheit higher last year than when records began about a century earlier. The average winter temperature in the Arctic is -30°F. It doesn’t rain at any temperature close to that. And I doubt any reindeer are despondent at -25°F.
                Bizarrely, the scientists believe that reindeer populations are also increasing because of warmer summers, therefore resulting in more competition for food. Are more of them starving after giving birth or before aborting? My head hurts. Methinks this is textbook “fake news.”
                So, to recap, global warming has been a boon to the reindeer population, but is also threatening to starve them into extinction? Does this even make sense to the British Eco-illogical Society? Also, I must point out, where I live, rain melts ice. And, wouldn’t there be more food the longer it stays warmer in the Arctic region? Additionally, essentially all species go through natural population cycles. When populations are high, the competition for food eventually does lead to more starvation and/or fewer births, returning the ecosystem to its equilibrium, even in less harsh environments.
                Global warming is killing off species. Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, which may result in humans having webbed feet someday. Climate change is responsible for changing weather patterns (duh!). Global warming is causing more severe rainstorms and flooding. Oh, and also drought on an unprecedented scale! And poverty, famine, racism, terrorism, disenfranchisement, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.
                Is there anything “bad” happening on the planet that experts don’t blame on global warming?

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