Boaty McBoatface mission gives new insight into warming ocean abyss

Boaty McBoatface mission gives new insight into warming ocean abyss
Boaty McBoatface. Credit: Povl Abrahamsen, British Antarctic Survey

The first mission involving the autonomous submarine vehicle Autosub Long Range (better known as "Boaty McBoatface") has for the first time shed light on a key process linking increasing Antarctic winds to rising sea temperatures. Data collected from the expedition, published today in the scientific journal PNAS, will help climate scientists build more accurate predictions of the effects of climate change on rising sea levels.

The research, which took place in April 2017, studied the changing temperatures at the bottom of the Southern Ocean.

During the three day mission, Boaty travelled 180 kilometres through mountainous underwater valleys measuring the temperature, saltiness and turbulence of the water at the bottom of the ocean. Using an echo sounder to navigate, Boaty successfully completed the perilous route, reaching depths of up to 4000 metres, to re-unite with the rest of the project team at the programmed rendezvous location where the sub was recovered and measurements collected along its route were downloaded.

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 data collected by Boaty, 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 Southern Ocean, causing warm water at mid depths to mix with cold, dense water in the abyss.

Footage of the start and end of Boaty McBoatface's mission. Credit: Povl Abrahamsen, British Antarctic Survey

The resulting warming of the water on the sea bed is a significant contributor to rising sea levels. However, the mechanism uncovered by Boaty is not built into current models for predicting the impact of increasing global temperatures on our oceans.

Boaty's 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.

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton who led the project said: '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'

Boaty McBoatface mission gives new insight into warming ocean abyss
Boaty McBoatface. Credit: Povl Abrahamsen, British Antarctic Survey

Dr. Eleanor Frajka-Williams of the National Oceanography Centre said: "The data from Boaty McBoatface gave us a completely new way of looking at the —the path taken by Boaty created a spatial view of the turbulence near the seafloor."

Dr. Povl Abrahamsen of the British Antarctic Survey said: '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 .'


Explore further

Boaty McBoatface submersible prepares to dive into the abyss on first Antarctic mission

More information: Alberto C. Naveira Garabato el al., "Rapid mixing and exchange of deep-ocean waters in an abyssal boundary current," PNAS (2019). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1904087116
Citation: Boaty McBoatface mission gives new insight into warming ocean abyss (2019, June 17) retrieved 21 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-boaty-mcboatface-mission-insight-ocean.html
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Jun 17, 2019
Reaching depths of up to 4000 metres

During the three day mission
Boaty travelled 180 kilometres
Through mountainous underwater valleys
Measuring the temperature
Saltiness
And turbulence of the water at the bottom of the ocean

For nigh on 5 billion years
The sea
4km deep
Has circulated this varying temperature salty water at these dephs
Then we come along
And for the last couple of years
We have read our interpretation in these latest couple of years

What is of great interest?
Is what were these temperatures?
For these last 5 billion years
What were these temperatures when this sea was 1billion years old
Or 500 million years old
For to get a true picture of these circulating temperature and saltiness
It would be prudent
To get these temperature readings every million years
Starting 5 billion years ago
For readings over 3 days just does not cut it, somehow!

Jun 17, 2019
So, what would like on the side of that McBullshit from the AGW Cult.

Jun 17, 2019
poor auntie oral.
her russian & saudi masters must be fiercely whipping her on to spew her gaseous cowshit excuses for destroying this world's biosphere.
just for a quick buck.

huh, a buck & auntie?
talk about unnatural relations!

Jun 17, 2019
granville
What were these temperatures when this sea was 1billion years old
That would be a great research project for you grannville. How do you propose to obtain this data? Maybe you could build a time machine - and take boaty boat back 3.6 billion years. Let us know how that works out for you. Mean time - the scientists are doing an amazing job - of putting the pieces of the jigsaw together - with the tools they have. And the monkeys in the peanut gallery - have nothing to add.

Jun 18, 2019
If Only

greenonions
That would be a great research project for you grannville

If only we could build this time machine
Where these quantum breezes doth blow
Blow through time and space
To an earth as it was 3.6 billion years hence
An admiral dream
But sadly is just are dream in our quantum fluctuations
For as we live in this here and now
The past has gone, the present exists a quantum moment, the future does not exist as yet to happen
Unless, greenonions
There are some earthly sedimentary temperature records 4km deep
No quantum fluctuations fluttering in these quantum breezes
Will take us back in time to an earlier age
For our sediment records are our only time machine

Jun 18, 2019
BoatyMcBoatface

The funny thing is that the name was chosen due to a poll taken for the *ship* the sub is stationed on.
Unfortunately the committee did not adhere to the poll results and instead named it the RRS Sir David Attenborough (and gave the winning name to the sub/drone).

No sense of humor.

Jun 18, 2019
granville
Unless There are some earthly sedimentary temperature records 4km deep
Kind of my point there granville. Scientists are studying the past - as best they can - given the difficulty of reconstructing conditions from billions of years past. And then the peanut gallery chimes in - and wants to say that what the scientists are saying about today - is flawed - cuz you know - it has been warmer in the past.

Jun 18, 2019
caution granny
your circuit board at your masters Dark Web site, is overheating!

well a_p,
as the saying goes...
"a camel is a pony,
designed by a committee."

Jun 18, 2019
Heating water by convection currants

University of Southampton
A mechanism
That enables these winds
To increase turbulence
Deep in the Southern Ocean
Causing warm water
At mid depths
To mix with cold dense water in the abyss

This interesting mechanism
That winds blowing in the atmosphere
Causing surface turbulence
Causes currents to flow allowing seawater to circulate
Increasing thermal circulation currants to increase

For as this wind cools this surface water
This cool surface water sinks to the abyss
Loosing heat as it sinks
So warming this cold water in the abyss
There by this warmed abyssal water rises to the surface
Where these surface winds extract this surface heat
Continually continuing this abyssal thermal cycle
As this sea continually warming this atmospheric wind
There by this sea is driving this wind
Heat by convection of wind and sea

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