BOATY McBoatface has returned from its second Arctic expedition beneath the Filchner Ice Shelf in West Antarctica.

The National Oceanography Centre’s underwater vehicle, known affectionately around the world as ‘Boaty McBoatface’ and developed in Southampton, has been deployed undersea since January 2018, as part of the Filchner Ice Shelf System (FISS) Project.

The mission saw the vessel spend a total of five hours under the Antarctic ice in conditions below -20°C and spent 20 hours exploring beneath a section of ice that was 550 metres thick.

The latest success of this mission was described as a “significant milestone” in proving the under-ice capability of the vessel and builds on what “Boaty” achieved in 2017 when it returned from its first Antarctic adventure.

The data provided from Boaty’s mission has gone some way towards producing credible sea-level projections, says Professor Adrian Jenkins from the British Antarctic Survey.

Professor Jenkins who is leading the investigation said: “Understanding the contribution that polar ice sheets make to global sea-level rise is recognised internationally as urgent. The data from this mission are critical for assessing the future stability of Antarctica’s Filchner Ice Shelf.”

Steve McPhail, from the NOC said: “I am delighted in the success of this mission. For the engineers involved, this was a very challenging deployment that was not without risk.”

Science Minister, Sam Gyimah said: “Global warming is one of the greatest challenges we face today. Boaty’s maiden under-ice voyage provides scientists with a greater understanding of the changes that are occurring in Antarctica, which could have a colossal impact on our planet – but, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

"The government is committed to doing more and, through its ambitious industrial strategy, we are revolutionising industries and society by shifting to clean growth economies – ensuring the UK is leading the way in tackling climate change.”

The robotic submersible was given the name originally chosen last year for a new polar research ship by irreverent contestants in a public competition, and has now arrived back in Southampton.

Embarrassed officials decided to ignore the popular vote and instead named the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the veteran broadcaster.