You might recall that a couple of years, an online poll was held on the internet to help name a polar research vessel.
Because this is the internet, the winner of the poll was none other than the SS Boaty McBoatface. Of course, no ship could be put to sea with a silly name like that, so the scientists of the Natural Environment Research Council decided on a compromise. Instead of calling the ship itself Boaty McBoatface, an unmanned submarine vessel, an Autosub Long Range, stored and used aboard the ship would be named Boaty McBoatface.
Of course, the whole thing went viral and even resulted in an Australian ferry company naming one of their ships Ferry McFerryface. Some train services even changed their names to Trainy McTrainface, just for the LOLs.
Since the ship - which was subsequently named SS Sir David Attenborough - was put to sea, the research and data carried about Boaty McBoatface's many dives and travels have been published in the scientific journal PNAS, constituting a major scientific breakthrough. Essentially, what Boaty McBoatface's data revealed was that increasingly strong winds in the region are causing turbulence deep within the sea, and as a result mixing warm water from middle levels with colder water in the abyss.
Debut mission of Autosub Long Range (affectionately known as #BoatyMcBoatface sheds light on a key process linking increasing #Antarctic winds to rising sea temperatures @unisouthampton @NOCnewshttps://t.co/nGczdpiaXf pic.twitter.com/rZEMZ6tIXG
— Antarctic Survey (@BAS_News) June 18, 2019
The data harvested by Boaty McBoatface found that the resulting warming of the water on the sea bed is a significant contributor to rising sea levels, and has not been factored in current climate models for predicting the impact of increasing global temperatures in our oceans.
Speaking to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Povl Abrahamsen of the British Antarctic Survey said that "(the) 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."
It's fascinating stuff, but if none of that floats your boat (heh), know that many scientists, data researchers, and very important people had to credit the efforts of an unmanned submarine vessel called Boaty McBoatface.
That alone is worth it.