Friday 20 April 2012

More on the Recent Sonar Sighting

The Daily Mail reprises Marcus Atkinson's sonar hit from last year (see link). The interesting piece is a claim by a Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton that the trace shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton on the thermocline (the boundary between cold and warmer water layers).

However, I find that explanation a bit unconvincing due to the peaty nature of the loch. Algae need sunlight to photosynthesize and at a depth of 75 feet the loch has essentially become dark. Dick Raynor, who has dived at the loch says at his website that at about 70 feet all light would be lost from the surface when diving.

So, basically, no algae at 75 feet, certainly not enough "in bloom" to register on sonar. Mr. Boxall should think "Loch Ness" and not "English Channel"!

The Sun is also running the story here. Not sure why this is being rerun - it was all publicised back in  September.


  1. Your blog is an interesting bit of crusading journalism, but seems sometimes to overdo the "anti-Science" agenda. Proposed mundane explanations are dubbed "attempts to discredit", and people who do not agree with your tenets are named as "a Mr So-and So". In this example, you seem unaware of Dr Simon Boxall's 20 year history of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
    What research have you carried out on the thermocline in Loch Ness, Mr Watson?

    1. And here was me thinking I was answering science with science ...

      If Dr. Boxall (not "Mr.") can explain how algae can bloom (i.e. proliferate in numbers) in darkness, I would be interested to know.

      As for thermoclines, you will note my comment was more to do with light levels than water layers.

    2. I've never found anything in this blog to be "anti science" - I find the contrary to be the case.

      There's nothing wrong with questioning a scientific view with another one though. Do you really think that we should not dare to question someone just because they hold a PhD?

      If you really want to sound off at people who are anti-science, may I suggest one of the many blogs that try to tie in cryptozoology with Creationism! ;)