Boaty McBoatface makes important climate change discovery on maiden voyage
The discovery, which took place during the Boaty McBoatface's inaugural mission in April 2017, revealed that increasingly strong winds in the Antarctic region are causing turbulence deep within the sea, causing warm water at mid depths to mix with cold, dense water in the abyss. (Polv Abrahamsen, BAS)
Nicole Bogart, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019 4:46PM EDT
A British research submarine known lovingly the internet over as Boaty McBoatface has made an important discovery linking increasing Antarctic winds to rising sea temperatures.
The discovery, which took place during the unmanned submarine’s inaugural mission in April 2017, revealed that increasingly strong winds in the Antarctic region are causing turbulence deep within the sea, causing warm water at mid depths to mix with cold, dense water in the abyss. The findings of the mission were released by British scientists this week.
Scientists say winds have increased over the Southern Ocean over the last few decades thanks to a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica and an increase in greenhouse gases.
The mission saw Boaty McBoatface travel 180 kilometres through mountainous underwater valleys measuring the temperature, saltiness, and turbulence of the ocean water.
Researchers say the warming effect on the Antarctic sea bed is a “significant contributor” to rising sea levels.
“Our study is an important step in understanding how the climate change happening in the remote and inhospitable Antarctic waters will impact the warming of the oceans as a whole and future sea level rise,” lead researcher Alberto Naveira Garabato, professor at the University of Southampton, said in a press release.
Boaty McBoatface first rose to fame in 2016, when an online poll to name the polar research ship went viral.
Although the name won the public vote, Britain’s science minister decided the vessel should be named “RSS Sir David Attenborough” instead.
To keep the internet happy, the unmanned submarine was christened with the name.
Scientists say the data from Boaty McBoatface’s maiden voyage has provided a new way of mapping the deep ocean.