Boaty McBoatface dives into first Antarctic mission

Embargoed to 0600 Monday March 6 Undated handout artist's impression issued by the Natural Environment Research Council showing the type of remote-control sub-sea vehicle that is to be named Boaty McBoatface. The submarine is to join scientists fro

Boaty, which has arguably one of the most famous names in recent maritime history, is a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which will be able travel under ice, reach depths of 6,000 metres, and transmit the data it collects to researchers via a radio link. The remote-controlled underwater research submarine that captivated the world a year ago is making its first ever trip this week to Antarctica to capture climate change data - and also our hearts.

It will investigate parts of the Southern Ocean.

Despite Boaty McBoatface receiving 27,000 votes, 3,000 more than RRS Henry Worsley, after the British explorer, the council decided against using either name, opting instead to call the exploratory vessel after veteran naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

Boaty McBoatface - which is actually a single name for a trio of torpedo-shaped robots - came out on top when the United Kingdom government launched a public poll to find a new moniker for a new polar research ship. A suggested name was Boaty McBoatFace, and it quickly became the most popular choice with the name winning the vote by a huge majority.

This week Boaty McBoatface begins its maiden mission aboard the the British Antarctic Survey research ship RRS James Clark Ross, which the RRS Sir David Attenborough will replace in 2019.

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Antarctic Bottom Water is cold and dense, and its movement contributes to ocean circulation worldwide, the BAS writes.

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton, the lead scientist of the expedition, said: "The Orkney Passage is a key chokepoint to the flow of abyssal waters in which we expect the mechanism linking changing winds to abyssal water warming to operate".

Recently, scientists have suspected that changing winds over the Southern Ocean are affecting the speed of seafloor currents carrying AABW - and that could be affecting the amount of turbulent flow in the Orkney Passage.

Boaty McBoatface may have a silly name, but its mission is far from trivial. "And so, at the NERC National Oceanography Centre, Autosub Long Range Boaty McBoatface was born".

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