Boaty McBoatface’s Big Breakthrough

The Telegraph reports on the internet’s favorite ocean-going vessel, the submersible Boaty McBoatface, and the plucky little robot sub has just been doing some potentially world-saving science:

The three-day mission saw Boaty travel 112 miles (180 kilometres) through mountainous underwater valleys measuring the temperature, saltiness and turbulence of the water at the bottom of the ocean, at depths of up to 4,000 metres.

In recent decades, winds blowing over the Southern Ocean have been getting stronger due to the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica and increasing greenhouse gases.

The new data, along with other ocean measurements collected from research vessel RRS James Clark Ross, have revealed a mechanism that enables these winds to increase turbulence deep in the ocean, causing warm water at mid depths to mix with cold, dense water in the abyss.

The resulting warming of the water on the sea bed is a significant contributor to rising sea levels.

The mission was part of a project involving the University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, the British Antarctic Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Princeton University.

You can read more of the original research at PNAS.