The Bare Bones About My Emperor Penguin Essay 

Clarifying Peter Miesler’s (aka CitizenChallenged) Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins


Miesler is not a scientist nor does he understand biology. He is simply obsessed withe discrediting any skeptical interpretation. He refuses to accept any and all evidence that refutes climate driven extinction. Because my career has been dedicated to improving environmental stewardship, he seems overly obsessed with discrediting my essays and assassinating character.  Lacking any background in science, he quickly mis-characterizes any discussions he doesn’t understand,  to assert my words must be lies or deception.


But you be the judge-


Regards my essay: Blinded by Beliefs: The Straight Poop on Emperor Penguins


Example 1.

I wrote:

I first contacted Ainley to determine if his “drowning chicks” were based on observation or theoretical beliefs. Ainley confessed his claims were based on a sentence in Barbraud’s paper that stated, “Complete or extensive breeding failures in some years resulted from early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony, or from prolonged blizzards during the early chick-rearing period.

The early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony was merely a belief consistent with global warming hypotheses.”

I then requested dates of those breakouts from Barbraud but as I reported he replied. “They are difficult to find”


Meisler emails:

Meisler has emailed me, my colleagues and most bizzarely human resources at SF State University, demanding that they push me to reveal"my source for drowning chicks".



In contrast to the clear attribution of my statements,  Miesler’s emails epitomize both his obsession and blindness. My written passage above clearly stated that the source of the drowning chick stories was the Barbraud paper and that paper was footnoted just a few paragraphs earlier. Perhaps I should not think the worst of Mielser, if he is totally blind. Only if that is true, then I apologize for thinking the worst about him.

Nonetheless Miesler emailed me and Dr. Ainley, highlighting my paragraph above, and then Miesler states, “Steele says you [Ainley] are the source of the drowning chick stories. So Ainley naturally replies, “Steele is sadly mistaken.”  What Dr. Ainely and other researchers (whose replies Miesler tries to manipulate) do not realize, is they are responding to Miesler’s fabricated world that have twisted my words. That raises the likelihood that Miesler is a chronic liar or worse.

Example 2:

I wrote:

"Two years ago the fecal stain method identified several large, hitherto unknown colonies and nearly doubled our estimate of the world’s Emperor Penguins. That didn’t mean climate change had necessarily increased penguin numbers, but a larger more robust population meant Emperor Penguins were far more resilient to any form of change."


Miesler wrote:

"far more resilient to any form of change." Nonsense, the study makes no claims about resilience to "any form of change."



Biologists understand that larger populations are naturally more resilient. But lacking any understanding of biology, Miesler re-directs the issue. When organizations like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorize to what degree a species may be headed towards extinction, part of their calculus is the size of the population. It is not easy to determine if a change in a species’ sub populations or overall population size is due to natural fluctuations or the result of threatening factors that humans need to address. Still, larger populations can better withstand fluctuating populations whether or not the causative factors are temporary or a directional downward trend,  or if the trend is a natural drop or caused by humans.

It is true that the study reporting a doubling of the population did not discuss Emperor Penguin’s resilience, but I never claimed they did. I simply reported that the study’s results clearly revealed the population was twice as large as scientists first assumed, and as customarily understood by biologists, we understand larger populations make the species more resilient.


Example 3.


I wrote:

LaRue’s new study advances the science by analyzing the shifting patterns of penguin poop, and her results are prompting some scientists to “unlearn” a key belief that has supported speculation of the Emperors imminent extinction”


Miesler wrote:

No scientist was claiming "imminent extinction" - take a look:”



My reference to extinctions are based on comments in 2 papers.

In the 2009 paper Demographic models and IPCC climate projections predict the decline of an emperor penguin population  the authors used the phrase quasi-extinction 8 times and concluded, “To avoid extinction, emperor penguins will have to adapt, migrate or change the timing of their growth stages” suggesting the Emperor wont adapt quickly enough.” 

The authors amplified their speculation on extinction risks with a press release from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, with the alarming headlines “Emperor Penguins March toward Extinction?” Writing “emperor penguins could be headed toward extinction in at least part of their range before the end of the century.”  Generating similar headlines here  and here . 

In the 2001 paper Emperor Penguins And Climate Change the authors argued that the declining population was due to low survival that they linked to climate change. They argued against the greater likelihood that live penguins simply emigrated elsewhere writing, “High emigration from this colony to others is unlikely as the nearest colony is 1,000 km away and penguins, like all seabirds, are faithful to their breeding site once they have started to reproduce

LaRue’s paper reported that new unknown colonies are being found and new colonies are being established. My only claim was LaRue’s evidence showed 1) that there are nearby colonies and that both contradicted Barbraud’s earlier claim that the nearest colonies was 1000 km away so emigration was unlikely. And 2) the probability is greatly increased that members of  these new colonies are inhabited by refugees fleeing the disturbances at DuDu.

I have never argued that LaRue’s paper "proves" the DuDu’s emperors fled to those new colonies. 


Example 4.

I wrote:

"But Jenouvrier’s reference to sea ice’s influence on Emperor penguins during “second half of the 20th century in Terre Adélie” is a belief that should have been wisely abandoned. It was originally based on bizarre speculation in a 2001 paper Emperor Penguins And Climate Change,9 speculations that defied well-established biology and contradicted observations."


“The paper’s authors, Barbraud et al, reported a 50% population drop from 1970 to 1981, and they blamed a prolonged abnormally warm period with reduced northward sea-ice extent. But any correlation with northward sea ice extentnt was absolutely meaningless.”


Miesler wrote:

"well-established biology" … notice there's no follow up. Nothing is explained.”



This is another example of Miesler's blinding obsession that is simply dedicated to character assassination. My following sentences most definitely did “follow-up” but Miesler could comprehend that because he has no science background or skill.

I had continued to write, “Indeed the northward extent of sea ice had varied from 400 to 150 kilometers away from the colony, but the Emperor’s breeding success and survival depends solely on access to the open waters within the ice such as “polynya” and “leads.” That open water must be much, much closer. When open water was within 20 to 30 kilometers from the colony, penguins had easier access to food and experienced exceptionally high breeding success. When shifting winds caused open water to form 50 to 70 kilometers away, accessing food became more demanding, and their breeding success plummeted.7 Yet Barbraud et al absurdly argued that a reduction in sea ice extent, for unknown reasons, had lowered the penguin’s survival.9 It was catastrophic climate change speculation based on nothing more than a meaningless statistical coincidence.”

Any biologist familiar with Emperor Penguins will agree, correlations with the extent of pack ice are biologically meaningless.  Breeding success depends on a break between pack ice and fast ice, that allow penguins easy access to open water to feed. Changes in the sea ice extent is meaningless.

Miesler's typical tactic is to ridiculously suggest that because my 2000 word blog post does not encompass every argument ever about climate change, if I don't post an encyclopedic discussion, then I am "fraudulently" hiding and distorting the truth. I am tricking my audience. To deal with the greater complexities, I have written in much more detail about the other factors affecting penguins in my book. So I do not want to waste any more time on this Miesler post that is just mindless and rambling blather. 

But if you have questions please contact me.