the wild blue yonder
June 18, 2019

Let's get one thing clear: Boaty McBoatface is the name of the mini submarine, not the boat.

You might remember the epically named vessel from when, in mid-2016, online voters were asked to choose a name for Britain's Natural Environmental Research Council's newest research ship. Voters overwhelmingly decided to name it Boaty McBoatface, but the ministry rejected the will of the people and gave the name to an attached mini submarine instead. Now, the honorable McBoatface is living up to its ambitious name, delivering new research on warming sea waters in results published Monday.

McBoatface took its inaugural plunge in April 2017, plopping into the Southern Ocean and traveling 112 miles to measure temperature, salt content, and turbulence along the sea floor, CNet notes. It found that "winds blowing over the Southern Ocean have been getting stronger due to the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica and increasing greenhouse gases," a press release for the study says. That leads cold deep ocean waters to mix with the warmer waters above — a "significant contributor to rising sea levels," the release continues.

McBoatface's discovery is the first of its kind, thoroughly mapping how global warming is churning waters and speeding sea level rise, CNN reports via the National Oceanography Centre. Can the David Attenborough — the name of the ship originally elected to be named Boaty McBoatface — say the same? Kathryn Krawczyk

Editor's note: This article originally misstated the type of vessel that was dubbed the David Attenborough, it has since been corrected. We regret the error.

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