Boaty McBoatface is leaving Southampton this week to begin its first Antarctic mission.
The long range autosub will join scientists from the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey on an expedition to study the deep waters of the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean approximately 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. Boaty McBoatface, which got it’s name following the Natural Environment Research Council’s 2016 competition to name the UK’s new polar research ship, will measure the water’s effect on climate change.
Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton has commented:
“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.”
However, there is not just one Boaty McBoatface. The name refers to trio of vehicles in the new Autosub Long Range class developed at the National Oceanographic Centre. The autosub embarking on this first expedition, DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow), will depart from Punta Arenas, Chile, on Friday 17 March aboard the research ship the RRS James Clark Ross. The other two ‘Boaty’ autosubs are currently being prepared for their own expeditions.
Bon Voyage Boaty!