Source: British Antarctic Survey
Autonomous research submarine “Boaty McBoatface,” which undertook its three-day debut mission in April 2017, has made a significant splash in the scientific arena by discovering a link between Antarctic winds and rising sea temperatures. The results of the vessel’s maiden outing were published on June 17th in the scientific journal PNAS. The mission was part of a joint project involving the University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, the British Antarctic Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Princeton University.
The unmanned submarine—which earned its memorable name through a public poll—traversed more than 100 miles of mountainous underwater valleys in Antarctica, recording temperature, saltiness and turbulence at depths of up to 13,100 feet. The data revealed that increasingly strong regional winds are creating turbulence deep within the ocean, resulting in middle-level warm water mixing with colder water in the abyss. This is raising sea temperatures and contributing to a rise in sea levels. Greenhouse gas build-up and a thinning ozone layer are responsible for the growth in strength of Antarctic winds.
“Our study is an important step in understanding how the climate change happening in the remote and inhospitable Antarctic waters will impact the warming of the oceans as a whole and future sea level rise,” said project leader Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton.
“This study is a great example of how exciting new technology such as the unmanned submarine ‘Boaty McBoatface’ can be used along with ship-based measurements and cutting-edge ocean models to discover and explain previously unknown processes affecting heat transport within the ocean,” said British Antarctic Survey oceanographer Povl Abrahamsen, another scientist on the team.
Read more here.
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