Boaty McBoatface to set off on first polar mission

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"Boaty McBoatface", a name that was chosen in a national naming campaign, is heading out on its first Antarctic mission.

The name grabbed headlines a year ago when the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) started a public campaign to name a new $284 million research ship.

But the council clearly hadn't accounted for the Brits' sometimes bonkers humor, with one particular name - Boaty McBoatface - attracting way more votes than any other choice offered in the online poll. "They'll be collecting data for the Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow (DynOPO) project as they "fly" through submarine waterfalls and rapids, shedding light on how global warming is changing our oceans".

However, in a bid to placate detractors, three unmanned submersible vessels will share the name Boaty McBoatface. The UK made a decision to name that ship the RRS David Attenborough instead, but gave the Boaty name instead to a trio of underwater vehicles, the BBC reports.

The lead scientist, Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato, from the University of Southampton, said that the Orkney Passage is a key choke-point to the flow of abyssal waters in which they expect the mechanism, linking changing winds to abyssal water-warming, to operate.

Antarctic Bottom Water is cold and dense, and its movement contributes to ocean circulation worldwide, the BAS writes.

Recently, scientists have suspected that changing winds over the Southern Ocean are affecting the speed of seafloor currents carrying AABW - and that could be affecting the amount of turbulent flow in the Orkney Passage. Ultimately, the researchers would like to create models to help them predict how our climate will change during the 21st century and beyond.

Boaty McBoatface may have a silly name, but its mission is far from trivial.

And as for Boaty's next big adventure, Britain's National Oceanography Center hopes the sub can make the first under-ice crossing of the Arctic, BBC reported, a novel feat slated for 2018 or 2019.