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Weather factors and the Titanic

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg 100 years ago today and sank at 2:20 a.m. (West Greenland Time Zone) on April 15. It was a clear cold night. According to Weatherwise Magazine and media reports, many factors may have contributed to the disaster, including the mild winter, the glassy calm seas, the moonless night and the closest approach by the moon in 1,400 years on Jan. 4, 1912, which would have caused the sea to rise and many more icebergs to break off and drift into the shipping lanes that

Another factor could have been a "mirage." This theory from historian and author Tim Maltin, who spent six years researching ship and weather records and survivor accounts, concluded the cold Labrador current mixed with the warm Gulf stream air creating a thermal inversion in which air at the surface was colder and denser than air above. This could have caused a haze as reported by the look out, creating an optical illusion distorting the way the icebergs looked and distress rockets appeared in sky and affected Morse code communication.

The water temperature was 28 degrees, recorded by the ship Californian 10 miles away. Hypothermia caused most loss of life on the Titanic. Speed was the main factor in this tragedy.

Sources: Weatherwise Magazine and archived newspaper accounts

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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