Clare O'Beara's Reviews > The Ferocious Summer: Adelie Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica

The Ferocious Summer by Meredith Hooper
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As a journalist researching for a book, the author spent a summer on the Antarctic coast with the science team which works to study everything that can possibly be studied, including penguin colonies. The small Adelie penguins had to brave leopard seals and foul weather as they strove to collect shrimps to feed their chicks.

As much a portrait of the people and living conditions at Palmer Station as anything, this is a fascinating read. We learn that people who go to shovel snow are paid more than researchers. How do you keep scientists sane and communicative miles from anywhere? By making them take turns to cook for everyone and requiring them to turn up for batik classes. On Sundays nobody had to cook and leftovers were used up, after which all the station's waste was fed through waste disposal and pumped into the ocean. By day the researchers collared unfortunate penguins and made them regurgitate the meals they had just collected, in order to study the shrimp colonies.

The Antarctic continent is technically a desert, since no rain falls there; snow falls in abundance. But this summer the snow was more like freezing rain. The wetness continually soaked the young fluffy penguin chicks, which didn't have waterproof feathers. This made it very hard for them to stay warm and their numbers diminished. An already endangered colony was shrinking visibly. The summation was that climate change is bringing warmer weather to the area; and added to fracturing ice shelves and glacier flow, made Meredith Hooper aware that all the scientists could do was study and record the changes.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 29, 2014 – Shelved
May 29, 2014 – Shelved as: memoir
May 29, 2014 – Shelved as: science
July 22, 2014 – Shelved as: antarctica
September 27, 2014 – Shelved as: birds-fact
February 27, 2017 – Shelved as: environment-and-climate
June 23, 2017 – Shelved as: fish-and-whales
February 6, 2018 – Shelved as: women-s-history

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