Climate Science: Boaty McBoatface makes major climate discovery on maiden outing

University of Southampton

Duane Townsend

Futurist - June 18, 2019

On Tuesday, researchers published the results of Boaty’s first expedition in the scientific journal PNAS — and it seems the comically named sub has already facilitated a serious discovery.

In April 2017, Boaty spent three days exploring the bottom of the Southern Ocean, traveling a total of 180 kilometers (111 miles) while recording the water’s temperature, salinity, and turbulence.

Using a combination of Boaty’s data and measurements collected by the RRS James Clark Ross, researchers were able to identify a previously unknown mechanism allowing the winds blowing over the Southern Ocean — which have been getting stronger in recent decades due to climate change — to increase the turbulence deep beneath the ocean’s surface.

“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,” researcher Alberto Naveira Garabato said in a news release.

“The data from Boaty McBoatface gave us a completely new way of looking at the deep ocean,” researcher Eleanor Frajka-Williams added.

READ MORE: Boaty McBoatface’s debut outing sheds new light on the warming ocean abyss [University of Southhampton]

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