UK scientists have
challenged the idea that the Titanic was unlucky for sailing in a year
when there were an exceptional number of icebergs in the North Atlantic.
The White Star Liner RMS Titanic, built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, 4th February 1912, aided by four tugs preparing to leave for Southampton for her maiden voyage to New York on April 10th 1912
photo R. Welch
The ocean liner sank on its maiden voyage 102 years ago, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
The new analysis found the iceberg risk was high in 1912, but not extreme, as has previously been suggested.
The work by a University of Sheffield team appears in the journal Weather.
The iceberg which sank the Titanic was spotted just before
midnight on 14 April 1912, some 500m away. Despite quick action to slow
the ship and turn to port, it wasn't enough.
About 100m of the hull
buckled below the waterline and the liner sank in just two-and-a-half
Reports of unusually bad ice in the North Atlantic started to
emerge shortly after the disaster.
At the time, US officials told the
New York Times that a warm winter had caused "an enormously large crop of icebergs".
In the days leading up to that fateful night, the prevailing
winds and temperatures, assisted by ocean currents, had conspired to
transport icebergs and sea-ice further south than was normal at that
time of year.
The iceberg which sank the Titanic was spotted just before midnight on 14 April 1912 and was 1,640ft (500m) away.
Pictured is one possible path taken by the iceberg that sank Titanic over 100 years ago
All this has led researchers to seek explanations for a supposedly
awesome flotilla of ice in the North Atlantic.
One US group has proposed
that an unusually close approach to Earth by the Moon
caused abnormally high tides in the winter of 1912, which in turn
encouraged a greater than usual amount of ice to break off Greenland's
In the latest study, Grant Bigg and David
Wilton from Sheffield University's department of geography studied data
collected by the US Coast Guard and extending back to 1900.
Observational techniques have changed over the years,
But the researchers say that a good measure of
the volume of icebergs is given by the number that passed the circle of
latitude at 48 degrees North, across an area of ocean stretching from
Newfoundland to about 40 degrees West.
They found that the record showed great variation in the
volume of ice from year to year.
And although the iceberg flux from
Greenland in 1912 was indeed high, with 1,038 icebergs observed crossing
the 48th parallel, this number was neither unusual nor unprecedented.
In the surrounding decades, from 1901-1920, there were five
years with at least 700 icebergs crossing 48 degrees North.
coast guard record shows there was a larger flux of icebergs in 1909
than in 1912.
Prof Bigg told BBC News the flux was at the "large end" but
"not outstandingly large" for the first 60-70 years of the 20th Century.
Using the coast guard record and other data, the researchers
also developed a computer simulation to examine the likely trajectories
of icebergs in 1912.
Using this model, they were able to trace the
likely origin of the iceberg that sank the Titanic to southwest
They suggest that it broke off a glacier in that area in
early autumn 1911 and started off as a floating hunk measuring roughly
500m long and 300m deep.
Its mass by mid-April 1912 - as predicted by the computer
model - agrees very closely with the size of an iceberg bearing a streak
of red paint that was photographed by Captain William Squares
DeCarteret of the Minia, a ship that joined the search for bodies and
wreckage at the site of the disaster.
DailyMail : Titanic theory put on ice: Icebergs were not at dangerously high levels in 1912 - but they ARE today
Forbes : Revealed: The Origin Of The Titanic's Iceberg
Over 1,000 years ago, the islands of Polynesia were explored and settled by navigators who used only the waves, the stars, and the flights of birds for guidance.
In hand-built, double-hulled canoes sixty feet long, the ancestors of today's Polynesians sailed across a vast ocean area, larger than Europe and North America combined. To explore this ancient navigational heritage, anthropologist/filmmaker Sanford Low visited the tiny coral atoll of Satawal in Micronesia's remote Caroline Islands.
The Navigators reveals the subtleties of this sea science, transmitted in part through a ceremony known as "unfolding the mat," in which 32 lumps of coral are arranged in a circle to represent the points of the "star compass."
To master the lore of navigation was to attain great status in traditional Micronesian society.
For the past few months, I have been writing entries about the
Polynesian Voyaging Society’s incredible Worldwide Voyage (WWV): a
five-year journey to sail around the world aboard two Polynesian
voyaging canoes, using non-instrument navigation.
The first year of the
voyage was spent sailing around the Hawaiian Islands and in less than
two months, the canoes will leave their home and begin the international
portion of the voyage.
Crewmember Attwood Makanani, or “Uncle Maka”,
handling some line at the
edge of the bow while Hōkūleʻa passes through a squall in Kualoa.
by Kaipo Kīʻaha)
Why Take the Risk?
When people hear about the WWV, a question often arises around the
risks involved with this 47,000-nautical-mile voyage.
Certainly, it goes
without saying that a voyage of this nature is not always going to be
idyllic or smooth.
But Pacific Island people have spearheaded these
long-distance, open-ocean voyages of discovery for thousands of years.
Today, the Polynesian Voyaging Society believes that: “the Worldwide
Voyage is a journey that charts a new course toward sustainability that
Hawai’i and the world urgently need.”
Sunshine after the rain.
Crewmember Haunani Kane holds on as Hōkūle‘a gets close to land.
(Photo by Daniel Lin)
For us, the opportunity to inspire current and future generations of
leaders to care for the Earth–through outreach, education, science, and
storytelling–far outweighs any risks.
Master Navigator and PVS
President, Nainoa Thompson, puts it best when he says: “if you come from
the lens of what the canoe is supposed to do … it will do nothing if
we’re tied to the dock.”
Europe has launched the first satellite of what is heralded as one of
the most ambitious Earth-observation programmes ever.
On 3 April, a
Soyuz rocket dispatched into orbit the Sentinel-1A probe, the first
craft of a planned constellation of six Sentinel families set to be
launched by the end of the decade.
Together, the satellites will offer
unprecedented long-term monitoring of the planet’s land, water and
The Sentinels will be the core of the €8.4-billion (US$11.5-billion)
Copernicus programme, which is managed by the European Commission. Copernicus will also draw in data from about 30 other satellites, and
from ocean buoys, weather stations and air-quality monitoring networks.
Sentinels and Copernicus have the potential to become the world’s most
comprehensive Earth-monitoring system,” says Zbynek Malenovsky, who
studies vegetation using remote sensing at the University of Wollongong
Copernicus was designed by the
European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to help the
European Commission and EU member states to develop environmental
policies and monitor the results.
Its data will be used to create
services for myriad practical applications, including ice mapping,
agriculture management, climate-change forecasting and disaster
The idea is to produce images, maps and models in near real
time, much as is done with weather monitoring, but for many more
Unlike most previous
Earth-observation missions, the Sentinels will be replaced regularly as
This will help to generate long-term cross-calibrated data
sets of a variety of imagery and measurements, says Cathy Clerbaux, an
atmospheric scientist at the LATMOS atmosphere and astrophysics
research institute in Paris.
“It’s not easy to connect data series such
as measurements of pollutants, ozone or greenhouse gases when you have
different instruments, and gaps between missions,” she says.
The data will be free for anyone to access and use. (see myOcean interactive catalogue)
will enjoy formal user status alongside public authorities, and will
thus have privileged access, including dedicated help desks and support.
“Scientists are now much more integrated into the user community, and
not neglected as they have been in the past, when the focus was more on
the operational side,” says Josef Aschbacher, head of ESA’s Copernicus
“I expect scientists to be the number-one user group.”
Accurate information about the environmental is crucial. It helps to understand how our planet and climate are changing, the role human activity play in these changes and how this affects our daily lives. Responding to these challenges, the EU and ESA have developed an Earth observation programme called Copernicus, formerly known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, - a programme that becomes operational with the launch of Sentinel-1A.
is the first of two identical satellites; 1B is set to be launched in
the next 18 months.
Both contain a radar system that can see in darkness
and through clouds, unlike the optical instruments on many satellites.
This will allow them to continuously image cloudy areas such as tropical
They will operate in tandem, cutting down the time between
flyovers of the same point on Earth (known as revisit time), and
enabling quick-succession imaging to measure, for example, ground
deformation from earthquakes.
Sentinel 1 - Episode 1 of the Copernicus programme
Sentinel 1 comprises two radar imaging satellites which will transmit unprecedented around-the-clock imagery of environmental events (forest fires, landslides, receding ice sheets, etc.). It will also be used to assist the emergency response services when disasters strike.
Sentinels 2 to 5
will have different goals.
Between them, they will use optical sensors,
radiometers and spectrometers to measure everything from sea
temperatures to air pollution.
In addition, a Sentinel-5 Precursor
satellite will be launched in 2016 to minimize the shortfall in
atmospheric data-gathering following the 2012 loss of the European
A sixth Sentinel, a radar altimeter that will measure
sea-surface heights, is also under discussion (see ‘Watchers in the skies’).
diverse measurements of the major components of Earth systems will make
the Sentinels very valuable, says Richard Anthes, emeritus president of
the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder,
“A balanced suite of Earth observations is required for
observing and understanding Earth as an interconnected system,” he says.
Sentinel-4, for example, will be one of the first satellites to
monitor atmospheric pollutants from a geostationary orbit, notes
Clerbaux — and the first to provide hourly measurements over a single
area, in this case most of Europe and North Africa.
a pair of high-resolution imaging devices, is also causing excitement.
The satellites’ specifications are superior to those of Landsat-8, the
flagship US Earth-observation satellite, with a spatial resolution down
to 10 metres — three times finer than Landsat-8 — and shorter revisit
times of just 2–3 days at mid-latitudes.
This opens up research into
areas that update every few days, such as crop changes.
should really change the face of Earth observing,” says Gregory Asner,
an Earth scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford,
“This is the satellite that could revolutionize land-cover
and land-use change monitoring and analysis.”
from Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 have been working together to make their
data compatible and to develop joint archives.
It is a test of the
concept of a virtual satellite constellation, says Mike Wulder, a
scientist at the Canadian Forest Service in Victoria and a member of the
Landsat science team.
“Satellite data products could be significantly
improved if these were not limited to individual sensors but would
combine complementary platforms across space agencies and sensor types.”
says Malenovsky, will be a key factor within the Sentinel fleet.
fleet’s scientific value, he says, will be maximized if data from
various crafts can be combined to create virtual, as well as practical,
A rising China is seeking to assert its sea-boundary claims.
It is naive to believe that a strong China will accept the conventional definition of what parts of the sea around it are under its jurisdiction.
This should come as no surprise, but it has been uncomfortable for some of China’s neighbors and other stakeholders, including the U.S.
China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are engaged in long-standing territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
The Philippines, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has initiated international arbitration.
The arbitral tribunal is proceeding, even though China has decided not to participate in the hearings.
If a negotiated agreement can’t be reached, the ideal solution would be to resolve the dispute based on international law and legal principles, including UNCLOS, that have been established in many other such cases.
Can this be done through a juridical platform, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?
Keep in mind that major powers, including China and the U.S., don’t generally submit to the jurisdiction of the ICJ or other such forums.
A resurgent China isn’t going to allow its sea boundaries to once again be decided by external parties.
Therefore, I don’t believe the Chinese will submit their claims, which are based primarily on China’s historical presence in these waters, to be decided by rules that were defined at a time when China was weak.
And China has judged that the U.S. won’t risk its present good relations with China over a dispute between the Philippines and China.
Why this sudden interest in some outcroppings in the South China Sea?
What gas or oil can be drilled or fish caught around these rocks?
Much more is at stake than rocks and resources.
China sees the South China Sea as one of its key interests.
A rising China is asserting its position by claiming historical rights to these waters.
And the disputes, which arise from claims based on different principles, are unlikely to be resolved.
One-third of the world’s trade passes through the South China Sea, a vital sea line of communications.
Many other countries also have important interests there.
These include the freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as the peaceful management of disputes.
Quite apart from preventing mishaps and incidents, a framework to manage the different interests should be established.
Looking to the Past
China’s reliance on historical claims necessitates considering what its fleets did in the past, way before Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas and Vasco da Gama arrived in India.
More than six centuries ago Emperor Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty sent out a large fleet of trading ships to explore and trade with the rest of the world.
His choice to command the expedition was Grand Eunuch Zheng He (1371–1433).
Zheng He was born and raised a Muslim in what is now Kunming City in Yunnan Province.
He was captured by Ming Dynasty forces around 1381 and taken to Nanjing, where he was castrated and subsequently sent to serve in the palace of Zhu Di, who was then the Prince of Yan and would later become Yongle Emperor.
The Ming Empire without its "vassal states" under the Yongle Emperor
History and Commercial Atlas of China, Harvard University Press 1905
Over the course of nearly three decades (1405–33) Zheng He led seven westward expeditions, which were unprecedented in size and range.
They spanned the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, and reached as far as the east coast of Africa.
The ships used for these expeditions–more than 400 feet in length, based on archaeological evidence–were many times the size of those Columbus used to sail across the Atlantic.
These expeditions amply demonstrated the power and wealth of the Ming Dynasty.
More important, they left a lasting impact on the countries visited: Numerous masjids (mosques) in the region are named after Zheng He, commemorating his contributions to the local communities.
Early 17th century Chinese woodblock print, thought to represent Zheng He's ships.
If historical claims can define jurisdiction over waters and oceans, the Chinese can point to the fact that 600 years ago they sailed these waters unchallenged.
As our public viewer is not yet available (currently under construction, upgrading to Google Maps API v3 as v2 is officially no more supported), this info is primarily intended to our B2B customers which use our nautical charts layers in their own webmapping applications through our GeoGarage API.
30charts have been updated (March 28, 2014) in the GeoGarage platform :
7184 BROUGHTON ISLAND AND APPROACHES / ET LES APPROCHES
So 690charts (1665 including sub-charts) are available in the Canada CHS layer. (see coverage)
Note : don't forget to visit 'Notices to Mariners' published monthly and available from the Canadian Coast Guard both online or through a free hardcopy subscription service. This essential publication provides the latest information on changes to the aids to navigation system, as well as updates from CHS regarding CHS charts and publications. See also written Notices to Shipping and Navarea warnings : NOTSHIP
Father and son: 'In my head I could hear him telling me I had “done OK, Dad”.'
From The Telegraph by Paul Heiney Family tragedy inspired an adventure to face one of the world’s most perilous nautical challenge.
The moment I set eyes on the Beagle Channel, I knew that 9,000 miles of ocean
sailing to the southernmost part of South America had been worth it.
moonlit night gave way to a misty dawn, a steady wind filled the sails and
drew us onwards.
The rise and fall of the ocean swell felt more a comfort than a threat, yet it
was never far from my mind that this can be a dangerous place.
This is where
the weather quickly loses its temper and in fury hurls winds at you way
beyond gale force.
Storms here have destroyed big ships.
It is only 50 miles
north of the infamous Cape Horn.
But this morning it offered me an overwhelming reward for my efforts.
blazing equatorial heat of months before seemed far behind as snow-clad
mountains dipped to meet cold, green water and glaciers slithered their way
to the sea.
There were no signs of life, and even the faithful, following
albatrosses had deserted us.
I faced westwards and saw the splendour of this fabled natural highway linking
the great oceans of the Pacific and Atlantic.
It took my breath away.
In the past few years, I have been on two great voyages.
The first, this one
to Cape Horn, was now becoming a dream finally realised; the other, coming
to terms with the death of my son, Nicholas, at the age of just 23, and by
his own hand, was something I would have given anything to avoid.
are not unconnected.
I was at sea in 2006, off the coast of Nova Scotia after a single-handed
passage across the North Atlantic, when, in a bleak spot, I took the
bleakest possible call by satellite phone.
I was home within 24 hours.
Although my wife, daughter and I were awash in grief, I soon found a force
more powerful took control.
There was a sense of deep peace and
understanding, and no desire to play the pointless game of “what if…?”
guilt, no blame.
Such things seemed disrespectful to Nicholas.
He had made his choice.
His startling mind, honed by the great love of poetry
that took him through Oxford, had started to crumble, and an avalanche of
profound mental illness was about to overtake him.
He knew that, he sensed
it coming at him like a rogue wave and chose to step aside.
We could not
The coroner declared: “He took his life while the balance of his
mind was disturbed.”
There is nothing more to say.
As a family, we refused to be crushed.
I determined that some good must emerge
from the loss.
Small things can become great comforts: we discovered –
scribbled in secret and only pieced together after his death – a rich legacy
of poems and reflections that were later published under the title, The
Silence at the Song’s End, a book that has given comfort to many who contact
us, inspired music, a short film, and a radio play.
Much of those writings
were reflections on being at sea gathered while on tall ships in the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans, both of which he had crossed by the age of 21.
He was a proper sailor.
Over the passing years, after I had read and reread it, I decided it was time
to make a grand voyage of my own.
It had to be a dramatic one and a testing
And what presents more of a challenge than Cape Horn?
I could have
chosen any of the great adventurers whose books I had devoured and taken
them as role models, but instead I chose Nicholas.
The way he conducted
himself at sea was something to which I now aspired.
It is not unusual for
sons to be inspired by their fathers, but in this case it would be exactly
Paul Heiney and his yacht, WIld Song, set sail for distant places.
Our boat would not look out of place on the Solent on a sunny, Sunday
afternoon but I judged it up to the job.
Whether I was fit for the task
remained to be seen.
For the intricate coastal passages, I would try and
persuade a crew to sail with me, but on the open ocean I would sail alone.
was eventually to achieve 11,000 solo miles over the course of two years,
with brief periods back home.
Of course, I was never truly alone.
lurked, always in the shadows but ready to share a joke, to warn, often to
That it was only in my mind seemed not to matter.
Heading south is not difficult: the north-east trade winds are your best
friends, until just north of the equator when they evaporate and leave you
wallowing, idle as that painted ship upon a painted ocean. Calms are every
bit as testing as storms.
The boat rattles with no wind to fill the sails,
there is no progress, and the cabin temperature rises as your temper
For days I watched heavy squalls scuttling by but leaving me in
peace. I didn’t want peace; I wanted out of this.
Calm weather brings other dangers.
It is easy to relax your guard and walk the
side deck without clipping on your safety line.
All it takes is a badly
timed swing of the boom and you are over the side, and if there is any
breeze at all the boat will be moving away faster than I could swim.
In the tropics, food goes rotten fast.
I would throw stuff into the pressure
cooker, enough for two days, but it never lasted past the first.
Even in the
comparative cool of the night, a stew packed with luscious vegetables turned
to putrid mush in hours.
When the calms finally release you, and a fair wind
blows, it feels like a true escape.
I marvelled at the intensity of tropical night skies.
I would switch off all
the lights, even the dim glow of the electronics, till my eyes adjusted to
the heavens, and sit for hours in wonder.
Sometimes, at dusk, when the
horizon was still visible, I would take out my sextant and take measurements
and plot my position.
Some say the sight of such vastness makes them feel
insignificant, but I felt the reverse.
When you are navigating by the stars,
the universe is working for you.
You feel at the very centre of it.
Landfall soon breaks the magic.
Salvador, in Brazil, is a violent city and my
joining crew and I spent hours walking the dimly lit and threatening
docksides expecting every footfall to be our last.
Life on land is far
harder than life at sea, and many times I had to invoke the memory of
Nicholas, and remember how bravely he faced the places he voyaged to –
Mexico, Korea and Japan – often alone and still in his teens.
With his help,
I escaped Salvador unscathed.
But not in Rio, where we were neatly mugged by
a gang who pulled knives and shouted, “Money!”. Twenty quid and a small
camera bought our escape.
We told the police.
“We get mugged,
too!” they said.
But this voyage was about being at sea, not on land, and I was soon ready to
leave the tropics for colder and stormier waters.
In the Roaring Forties,
the winds blow with malice.
Often we would heave-to while the worst blew
through by stopping the boat dead in the water and just sitting there,
nervously bobbing up and down like a plastic duck.
It grew colder and diesel was now in short supply and the cabin heater was
We shivered a lot.
The fresh food was finished and in the cold air
I could not get the dough to rise in order to bake fresh bread.
dank, grey days.
Off the south-eastern tip of South America is Staten Island.
It has seen many
Beset by fast tides, violent winds and poor shelter, the old
square-riggers gave it a wide berth. I chose, cautiously, to sail into the
heart of it, however, to an anchorage like no other.
Sailing through the
narrowest of gaps between snow-topped mountains, surrounded by a dozen
tumbling waterfalls, you find peace.
It was like entering Narnia.
verse of one of Nicholas’s poems flooded my mind.
Some kind of song inside myself rose at the sight of the beauty of this lonely
If I saw nothing else, this would be reward enough.
But the beguiling Beagle Channel was soon to follow, and then a dash in
carefully chosen weather to Cape Horn itself: navigating in the dark,
fearing every gust of wind that might hint at a pouncing storm.
has a majesty, too, and others have chosen to pop the champagne at the sight
It seemed more like a battlefield where thousands lost their
lives: a memorial, not a tourist attraction.
I gave it due respect and
sailed on. Rounding Cape Horn, strangely, no longer seemed the most important
part of this journey.
It was now 9,000 miles back to Devon.
My last crew departed in Uruguay and I
faced the remaining 7,000 miles alone.
It was not easy.
The winds failed to
follow their predicted behaviour.
The boat was becoming tired and so was I.
North of the equator I met strong headwinds that tormented me for the
remaining 3,000 miles.
It was the toughest slog of the whole trip.
Tired, mentally and physically, I made for the Azores, where I could take a
But the weather only worsened and I found myself in a poor position
with gales blowing, no diesel so no engine, water low, batteries almost flat
and, eventually, a mainsail that was ripped in half by a violent gust of
After a monumental effort from which it took my arms months to
recover, I sailed into sufficient shelter to make my first contact with land
for 66 days, and was towed from there to safety by the helpful harbour staff
on the island of Flores.
In his last six years Nicholas Heiney sailed widely, crossing both the Atlantic and the Pacific as a deckhand aboard the square-rigged barque Europa, and training young Koreans in seamanship.
Had I lived up to the example my dear boy had set?
I hope so.
In my head I
could hear him telling me I had “done OK, Dad”.
That will have to do.
how I wished he could have said it face to face.
And now I am gathering my thoughts on paper, as he did, hoping they might come
close to the intensity of his.
If they should ever find a publisher, you
will read how I have become certain that none of us voyage alone.
guided by those we have loved whether they are with us in body or not.
know he wasn’t there, wasn’t in the cabin, wasn’t at the wheel.
But that is
not to say that he was nowhere.
He is out there somewhere, amongst his ocean
And for a brief while I was able to be with him.
A Chinese ship involved in the hunt for a missing Malaysian jet reported hearing a "pulse signal" in the Indian Ocean on Saturday with the same frequency emitted by flight data recorders, as Malaysian officials vowed not to give up the search.
Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the joint agency coordinating the operation, said in a statement the characteristics reported by the Chinese vessel are consistent with the aircraft’s black box.
However, he cautioned there was no confirmation the signals are related to MH370. A patrol ship first picked up the signal on Friday when it was detected intermittently for about 15 minutes.
Haixun, China's largest patrol vessel, picked up the signal again on
Saturday, when it was detected every second for 90 seconds.
The approximate location is just north of the designated search area west of Perth,