Boaty McBoatface set for maiden voyage

Boaty McBoatface is now preparing for its first mission.

The research group said it chose the name following last year's viral campaign it launched to get the public's help in naming a $300-million research ship.

Scientists hope the data Boaty collects will give a better understanding of how the ocean is reacting to global warming. Well, that boat-which everyone still refers to as Boaty McBoatface even if it's not the boat's official moniker-was actually named after naturalist Sir David Attenborough (not as fun, though well deserved, of course).

Boaty will travel with the DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition on the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research ship James Clark Ross, departing from Punta Arenas in Chile on March 17.

The little yellow submarine was given the quirky title after it topped a poll originally created to name the government's next polar research ship.

"Within days "Boaty McBoatface" had become a runaway favorite, a social media sensation that cropped up on panel shows and hit headlines across the world", NERC explains on its blog.

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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.

In 2019 Boaty McBoatface will be fitted with acoustic and chemical sensors and sent into the North Sea to "sniff out" signals associated with the artificial release of gas beneath the seabed.

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

It seems that Boaty the submarine has a long future ahead of it, it will attempt the first-ever crossing of the Arctic Ocean under ice, which has the potential to deliver a significant change in scientists' ability to observe change in this vital region.

The U.K.'s National Oceanography Centre has designed a cartoon version of Boaty McBoatface to help teach children about marine research.

  • Douglas Reid