May 15, 2021

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7:15 AM | *The role of weather in the sinking of the Titanic on April 15th, 1912* — Perspecta Weather

2 min read

The superior mirage theory suggests that the freighter SS Californian was unable to identify the Titanic on the moonless night because even though the Titanic sailed into the Californian’s view, it appeared to the crew on that ship to be too small to be the great ocean liner.  Also, the crew on the SS Californian testified later that they weren’t quite sure what they were seeing on the horizon when the Titanic was shooting distress rockets into the air. The Titanic’s rockets appeared quite low in the sky – perhaps as a result of a superior mirage – not at the higher heights that the crew would have expected if indeed they were distress signals.  Finally, the superior mirage may have also disrupted signals sent by the Titanic to the SS Californian with a powerful electric Morse lamp as the crew later reported that the carefully timed flashes arrived distorted and jumbled.  History will never know exactly what events and conditions precipitated the Titanic disaster, but the mirage theory is backed by some eyewitness accounts and raw meteorological data.

One last note, in a strange twist to this story, the SS Californian actually suffered a similar fate as the Titanic as it was sunk during World War 1 (November 9th, 1915) by a German submarine in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.  One person lost their life and the ship has never been found.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian
Perspecta, Inc.
perspectaweather.com

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Paul Dorian

2021-04-15 11:15:00

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