Titanic and the other White Star Line ships were among the only ones with two crew members dedicated as lookouts.
Lookouts described a thin haze on the horizon and survivors described that the thick smoke coming from the wreck flattened and hung in the air like a mushroom cloud the night of the Titanic's disaster. These conditions indicate that Titanic could have been in the midst of a cold water mirage.
There was no moon when the titanic was sailing, and the only way the lookouts could have spotted an iceberg was against the backdrop of a blanket of stars. However, the hot and cold air could have caused a mirage, distorting the sea, and raising up the horizon behind the iceberg, cloaking it.
What Capitan Stanley Lord saw that night could have been affected by refraction, distorting the ship so that it didn't look anything like Titanic at all.
Due to the conditions, the iceberg that damaged Titanic could have been effectively invisible for 20 minutes.
A soft horizon refers to when it's hard to define where the sky ends and the sea commences.
A hidden ice shelf ripped along Titanic's hull, causing damage at a million foot tonnes a second.
In 5 seconds, Titanic's compartments are smashed open along 200 feet of her hull.
The iceberg took out six of Titanic's 16 watertight compartments.
The Paula was likely the last ship that went close to the Titanic's wreck site before it sank. It reported the temperature changing from 12.8, to -1.4, to 13 degrees Celsius.
The Marengo left New York on April 11, 1912 and was very near the wreck site the day Titanic collided. She reported the sea temperature dropping dramatically, as well as much refraction on the horizon with a clear and bright night.
Refraction refers to strange optical effects and distortion in the clear air.
The difference in air density between hot and cold air stacked on top of each other bends light, creating a shimmering effect, or mirage.
Titanic sank right in the center of a 1035 millibar arctic high, the highest pressure anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere at the time.
ICEBERGS, TRACKING, & CURRENTS
Ice Patrol uses radar technology to track the path of icebergs in the North Atlantic
Ice Patrol was set up as a direct consequence of the Titanic disaster.
Icebergs in the Western North Atlantic that enter shipping lanes come primarily from the West Coast of Greenland.
The freezing current that carries the icebergs is called the Labrador.
The Labrador Current cuts into the warmer Gulf Stream.
In 1912, over 1000 icebergs entered the North Atlantic shipping lanes.
On average, 500 icebergs enter the North Atlantic shipping lanes.
The iceberg that wounded the Titanic came from the Greenland Glaciers and was carried by the freezing Labrador Current.
9/10ths of an iceberg is under water.
Before remote technology, forecasters relied on ships that travelled the world, and took the air and water temperatures every four hours. Meteorological offices of the ships’ countries used these readings to build synoptic charts of the weather.
A NOAA center in Asheville, North Carolina stores all weather data sent by thousands of ships that crisscrossed the oceans of the globe.
Titanic most likely sank in the Labrador Current.
The German Climate Data Center in Hamburg stores about 37,000 journals from sailing ships and steamers beginning in 1829.
The Labrador Current brought freezing water underneath the air warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Cold water mirages are commonly seen in the right conditions.
All facts taken from the book 101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic by Tim Maltin.