Pat Shingleton: "Wind and the Titanic..."
On this date in 1871, renowned French scientist Camille Flammarion was writing L’Atmosphere when a strong wind gust blew open the window near his desk. In seconds the whirlwind shuffled his manuscript onto the street. The manuscript was transported through the rain to Lahure’s printing office in the Rude de Fleurus a half-mile-away without a single page destroyed or missing. The chapter was devoted to the force of wind. His publisher’s assistant noticed the leaves of the manuscript outside the office thinking he had dropped them and quickly gathered them. He took the pages into the printing office and told no one for fear of termination but later disclosed the incident. Flammarion was also a collector of coincidences. Tomorrow marks the 105th anniversary of a disaster in the North Atlantic. Icebergs doomed the RMS Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912 at 11;40 pm. Approximately 700 passengers and crew who survived the disaster, testified that sea conditions resembled a placid lake on an unusually calm yet cold night. Other ships plying the waters of the North Atlantic, over a two month period, reported an unusually high number of icebergs in the shipping lanes, the same lanes through which the Titanic sailed. In 1912, weather technology was in its infancy as scientists began understanding the dynamics behind weather. The role of weather was never considered in the investigation. Weatherwise magazine's research noted that weather patterns in the winter and early spring of 1911-1912 were to blame for the ship’s demise. Changes in atmospheric pressure at sea level caused strong north winds that propelled the icebergs farther south than normal, placing them into the Titanic’s course. Iceberg season in the north Atlantic is April through July where more than 80 percent of the total number of icebergs cross south of latitude 48 north. In April, 1912, more than 900 icebergs floated in the North Atlantic.