We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Global warming as mass neurosis: WSJ. We all know AGW is to blame for everything, and now the NYT adds decreasing penguins to the list - even though Antarctic ice is increasing. And, for utter looniness, Prince Charles runs his Aston Martin on surplus wine. I have no idea what "surplus wine" means.
Does it mean his extra cases of Margaux '91 that he'll never get around to drinking? (1891, that is.)
The penguins, like the polar bears themselves, don't actually need ice to survive, though they are adapted to living in and on it. What all species need is viable habitat. Ice in and of itself is not habitat though ice can be abundant in certain habitats and even contribute to the diversity of life that are adapted to certain niches in those habitats.
So, if an increase in ice causes a disruption to the patterns for which certain populations of penquins, or polar bears, or harbor seals are adapted, there could be a reduction in numbers. Specifically, some penquin colonies of different species compete for viable rookery sites, which can be scarce, that are also within range of sustainable feeding areas. I think you can see that if those two aren't proximal, it could be difficult to reproduce. As to whether this is happening on a wide enough scale to jeopardize the species, it is probably not able to be determined with much certainty, though it would be a risk.
Ahh, Bird Dog ... the New York Times, still desperately trying to fit everything ominous into its man-made global warming meme, blames everything on AGW. As doug correctly points out, polar bears don't necessarily need ice to survive, as long as they can get to those sweet little seals and their blubber. What they need, and so do the seals, is viable habitat, as doug says. The original polar bear species differentiated from grizzlies and brown bears more than 250,000 years ago, mainly because their habitat was so cold, because of global cooling. That's why they evolved black skin, to help collect warmth from the sun, and hollow hairs to their fur, so what sun there was could travel down to that black skin and warm them up. They're surviving quite nicely right now, thank you, with the latest reports that, of 20 polar bear populations being monitored by biologists, 18 have increased.
I know all this because my husband has written several books on polar bears and I've acted as his copy editor.
Fear not for the polar bears, or the seals either. The IPCC has had to reluctantly admit that there has not been any global warming recorded since 1998, and there are 38,000 climate scientists who have gone on public record saying that they do not subscribe to the global warming thesis. That puts Gore's captive scientist, Hansen, in a tight spot. It's going to be fun watching this play out.