FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) —Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered new colonies of emperor penguins.
By using satellite imagery, these researchers discovered 11 new colonies.
While looking at the images, the new penguin colonies were able to be located based on where the penguins' waste stains were visible on the ice.
Earlier research showed that there were 50 colonies of emperor penguins on the continent.
Now, that total is up to 61 penguin colonies.
That's almost 20% more emperor penguin colonies than originally thought.
It's difficult to study this type of penguin because of the areas they live in.
Emperor penguins usually live in remote and hard to access areas where temperatures get as cold as 50 below zero.
That's why satellite imagery from the Sentinel2 satellite was used.
The researchers did have to deal with weather conditions while trying to complete their research.
It was determined that it was best to use every image with less than 50% cloud cover.
That means they viewed every sunny, mostly sunny, and partly sunny image.
The more cloud cover the images had, the harder it was to determine where the colonies were.
Even though it's a good discovery, the penguins will help scientists to learn more about the impact of global warming.
The new colonies were located in areas of Antarctica lacking stable sea ice, which means they are vulnerable as the climate warms.
The penguins will act like "canaries in a coalmine" as these impacts are learned.
You can read more about the study that was done here.