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Boaty McBoatface to dive into the abyss on first Antarctic mission

Credit: University of Southampton

Boaty McBoatface is to join ocean scientists on an expedition to study some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth – known as Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) – and how they affect climate change.

Boaty McBoatface is an unmanned submersible, developed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton. It was given the name following last year’s campaign to name the UK’s new polar research ship. Although the Boaty McBoatface was the popular winner of the naming contest, the ship will instead be named after famous naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

The submersible is now embarking on its first Antarctic research mission.

The team of researchers from the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will assess water flow and underwater turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean around 3,500m deep and roughly 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula.

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato is the the lead scientist of the research cruise Credit: University of Southampton

Our goal is to learn enough about these convoluted processes to represent them (for the first time) in the models that scientists use to predict how our climate will evolve over the 21st century and beyond.”

– Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato, lead scientist, University of Southampton